An Exploration into the Experts on Maternal Mental Health: PSI

  • January 16, 2024

Postpartum Support International is a nonprofit organization that has centered its mission around the promotion of “awareness, prevention, and treatment of mental health issues related to childbearing in every country worldwide.” It is almost impossible to account for all the achievements and impact this organization has had on both those suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) and the clinicians seeking guidance to help those who are suffering.


Postpartum Support International (PSI) was founded in 1987 by Jane Honikman and like-minded individuals after they attended the first annual “Women’s Mental Health Following Childbirth” conference. This was followed by the formal adoption of its Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation in 1989 which established its legal nonprofit status. Since the time of its conception, PSI has been motivated to build a network of support that reaches every community across the globe. This began with the creation of a warm line that could be utilized by anyone who was struggling as well as situating coordinators across the globe that could serve as a bridge between those in need and the PSI central office and its resources. 

PSI has offered an annual conference each year since 1987 to gather passionate clinicians and survivors to offer education and training, and honor those who are making contributions in the maternal mental health field as well as honor those who have lost their battle to perinatal mood disorders. The Jane Honikman Award recognizes those who have made achievements in increasing awareness of emotional health during the perinatal period. The Susan Hickman Memorial Research Award grants $500 to students engaging in research on PMADs and displays their findings at the conference. Most notably, PSI began honoring those who lost their lives due to postpartum mood disorders beginning in 2000. This has been transformed into a Memorial Quilt and Book which contains the names of these individuals and is displayed at its annual conference. 

PSI has situated itself as a trusted source of information, education, and support for those struggling and the family members, clinicians, and community supporting them.

Resources for Individuals

For an individual struggling with PMADs, PSI wants them to know that they are not alone, they are not to blame, help is available, and they will get better. This is reflected by the comprehensive list of resources offered on PSI’s website. 

The PSI HelpLine can be reached via phone call at 1-800-944-4773 (4PPD) and is offered in both English and Spanish. Text messaging is also accommodated by reaching out to 800-944-4773 for English communication and 971-203-7773 for Spanish communication. This HelpLine can be used by anyone seeking basic information, support, and resources. 

True to its goal to embed support in every community, PSI has established a provider directory that allows patients or fellow providers to search for clinicians in their area who have been trained or specialize in the treatment of PMADs. The provider directory makes it easy to build supportive networks in states and communities. As mentioned previously, their care coordinator program has also grown. Volunteers can elect to receive training and participate as support coordinators for their state. Individuals or their loved ones can submit interest forms at PSI’s website and be connected to a coordinator in their area to help connect them to local resources and treatment providers. This Support Coordinator program now reaches across all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, and more than 40 other additional countries. 

This is only a small glimpse into the number of PSI’s publicly available and free resources for individuals and their families. Their focus has far expanded beyond moms to include fathers, adoptive parents, partners and families, LGBTQ+ parents, military families, and those who are experiencing grief related to perinatal loss. The website includes educational materials, weekly virtual support groups that cover a wide variety of topics based on the needs of the individual in both English and Spanish, avenues to chat with experts and specialized support resources.

Resources for Providers

PSI’s goal to equip capable and knowledgeable professionals in every community to support individuals experiencing PMADs is also reflected through its expansive educational and training materials offered to clinicians. 

A cornerstone of this education and training is a standardized curriculum on perinatal mental health with a certification to reflect the completion of this training. PSI offers three types of Perinatal Mental Health Certifications (PMH-Cs) based on professional practice. These include Mental Health/Psychotherapy which includes therapists and psychologists, Psychopharmacology which includes any prescribers regardless of discipline, and Affiliated Providers such as peer support specialists, nurses, doulas, lactation specialists, dietitians, etc. To earn a PMH-C, clinicians must have practiced in the field for 2 years, have a degree level corresponding with the standards based on the type of certification being pursued, complete the 14-hour Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Certificate Course and a 6-hour advanced training based on specialty, and pass the certification exam. 

Outside of the certification training, PSI also offers professionals in the field a variety of training and education opportunities in the form of virtual and in-person seminars. Additional trainings cover a variety of specialized topics including Paternal Perinatal Mental Health, Perinatal Loss: Clinical and Supportive Care, Frontline Provider Training, and free recorded webinars covering a variety of topics. 

Professionals are also able to use the Perinatal Psychiatric Consult Line which is a free resource aimed at providing guidance and expertise for prescribers that are helping to manage care for perinatal populations. Prescribers can request this free consultation and speak with experts in the field of psychiatry to discuss the treatment course for a client who may be presenting challenges.

Again, this is only a glimpse into the vast expertise that is offered by PSI and its staff. PSI has situated itself as a thought leader and disseminator of the best practices for treating perinatal mood disorders.

Advocacy Efforts

PSI collaborates with several organizations to pursue advocacy efforts. Mind the Gap has developed a national strategic plan to address the maternal mental health crisis. The Perinatal Mental Health Alliance for People of Color and La Alianza aim to expand the number of professionals of color available to support diverse families and increase the capacity of professionals to better support individuals and families of color.


Postpartum Support International is a dynamic nonprofit organization that has demonstrated massive success in raising awareness for and educating both the public and professionals on the maternal mental health crisis, effective strategies for screening and treating perinatal mood disorders and serving as a much-needed, trusted source of information and guidance in this ever-emerging discipline. 

All the information included in this article was sourced from and was written independently. It is of the utmost importance to give recognition to the organizations and individuals dedicating their work to furthering our knowledge and improving our practice to best serve the individuals experiencing perinatal mood changes as well as uplifting the voices of the survivors of perinatal mood disorders.


Moodr Musings

Recent Articles

Mental Wellness Month Special: A Guide for New Moms

January 24, 2024
Becoming a new mom can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be overwhelming and challenging....