New program supports emotional health of moms and babies

by Hennepin Healthcare

First of its kind program in Minnesota offers mental health services to support women and families — including a “Day Hospital” 

MotherBabyimageThe Mother-Baby Program at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) is the first of its kind in Minnesota, offering a range of mental health services to support women and families. Only three other programs of this type  exist nationwide.

With a mission to support families by strengthening the emotional health and parenting capacity of mothers, this unique program includes outpatient psychiatry services, a HopeLine triage and resource line, and a day hospital for pregnant women and mothers experiencing depression, anxiety, or other emotional distress.

Debilitating depression and anxiety can begin during or after pregnancy and can affect on average 1 out of 8 women,” explains Dr. Helen Kim, Medical Director of the Mother Baby Program.  “To support healthy brain development, babies and young children need to feel safe and secure in relationship with their primary caregiver.  By strengthening the emotional health and parenting capacities of distressed pregnant women and moms, we are supporting the health of their babies.”

The Mother-Baby Program at HCMC includes:

Hennepin Women’s Mental Health Program – 612-373-1851 (to schedule an intake for new patients) Outpatient psychiatry and psychotherapy services for women with depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric concerns before, during or after pregnancy.

The Mother-Baby HopeLine – 612-873-HOPE (4673)  Not a crisis line — the HopeLine is a free, telephone triage and resource line for families experiencing stress or challenges related to mental health symptoms during and after pregnancy, or parenting of young children.  Providers may also call with questions related to the diagnosis and treatment of perinatal and maternal mental health.  Callers can leave a voicemail and a mental health staff member will return calls within two business days.

The Mother-Baby Day Hospital – 612.873.MAMA (6262) A short-term, intensive outpatient mental health treatment program for pregnant women and mothers with young children who are experiencing depression, anxiety, or other emotional distress that impact their ability to:

  • Function at home or at work
  • Take care of themselves or their baby
  • Bond and connect with their baby

 Important information about the Mother-Baby Day Hospital:

  • Women must meet criteria for admission and cannot be adequately treated through traditional outpatient services;
  • Mothers with babies less than one year old are encouraged to bring their baby with them and either keep their baby in their arms or allow them to sleep in the nursery that is connected to the group room;
  • Day Hospital hours are 10 am – 3 pm, Monday-Thursday, and average length of stay is 3 weeks;
  • Treatment includes: group and family psychotherapy; support for mother-baby bonding and connection; health education about the transition to motherhood, grief and loss, caring for a baby or young child, relaxation and mindfulness; and medication evaluation and management.
  • Services are billed to a patient’s insurance provider.   If a patient does not have medical insurance, HCMC will work with them to discuss options.

 Hennepin County Medical Center is a Level 1 Trauma Center and public teaching hospital. The centerpiece of Hennepin County’s clinical health services, HCMC offers a full spectrum of inpatient and outpatient services.