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Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County

ECHO Perinatal Case Conferences Provide Support with Maternal Mental Health

Gynecology Consultation. Smiling black pregnant woman visiting her obstetrician doctor in maternity clinic, senior male gynecologist writing in clipboard listening to patient, doing medical checkupProviders need support when presented with a pregnant or postpartum patient with a complicated history, symptoms, or situation. Luckily, there is someone they can turn to who can troubleshoot with them, through the Los Angeles Maternal Mental Health Access (LAMMHA) ECHO Perinatal Case Conference Series. The monthly LAMMHA webinar, based on the successful ECHO Model, brings together doctors, nurses, behavioral health clinicians, and other staff working to support new families in Los Angeles County during their pregnancy and postpartum journeys and provides them an opportunity to learn from one another. Each webinar features a brief presentation on a unique topic related to perinatal mental health delivered by an expert in the field. Following the presentation, attendees are invited (and strongly encouraged!) to bring challenging cases that they have encountered to the group for discussion and troubleshooting. Through this interactive discussion, providers across LA County are able to share their experiences and expertise with their peers and learn about other agencies and programs that could be beneficial to the patients they serve.

At a recent ECHO session, clinicians discussed the case of a 27-year-old woman who is 15 weeks pregnant. She arrived at the health center feeling restless, agitated, and tired. Through screening and further questioning, the provider learned that the patient has been using cannabis two to three times per day to manage her anxiety as well as improve her sleep and appetite. But, she stopped seven days prior when she found out she was pregnant. Her current anxiety, irritability, insomnia, appetite and headaches appear to be symptoms of withdrawal. The group discussed various ways to help this patient address her needs without causing harm to herself or the fetus, through the lens of perinatal mental health and harm-reduction.

Other LAMMHA ECHO sessions have addressed birth trauma, perinatal loss, psychopharmacology, risk management, and child abuse reporting. Presenters have included Dr. Emily Dossett, founder and director of the Reproductive Mental Health Program at Los Angeles County General Medical Center; Dr. Sharon Tan, a psychologist on the Perinatal and Pediatric Palliative Care Team at Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital; and Anna King, LCSW, PMH-C, Director of Training at Maternal Mental Health NOW.

LAMMHA ECHO sessions are open to providers of all disciplines serving LA County’s perinatal population and strongly encouraged for staff at health centers participating in the LAMMHA project. CMEs and CEs are available for free to all who attend live.

To learn more and register to attend one or all future ECHO sessions, please click here.