The Mother-Wise program is a locally designed initiative to address Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) for new mothers. It was started by a local collaborative of health and human service agencies and concerned citizens. The goal of the program is to reduce PMADs and increase bonding for new mothers. Research indicates that 20-25% of mothers with newborns can demonstrate PMADs to an extent that impairs bonding. Increasing attachment will decrease child abuse and neglect, not only in the early years of the child’s development, but throughout their life.

The Mother-Wise program trains local volunteers to provide in-home support to new mothers, health education, peer counseling and referrals to clinical services if needed. The volunteers are supervised by clinical staff (several MFTs from local agencies, one with a specialty in “Perinatal Mood Disorders”). Outcomes are measure by supervisors and are related to clinical issues and medical referrals. Staff are creating a training manual and other documents to better describe the practice and theories of the program.

An additional outcome of the program is the increased awareness of the importance of Attachment and the issue of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders for new mothers. Local articles in the press and radio interviews with the Program Coordinator has heightened awareness of this issue and the need for intervention with these new moms.

Mother-Wise hosts weekly groups for Lake County moms in both Lakeport and Clearlake.  Moms spend quality time with their babies while learning and sharing with other moms while the Children’s Activity Coordinator does activities and plays with older children, ages 1-5 years.

For more information please visit the Mother-Wise Facebook page or contact Jaclyn Ley at (707) 349-1210.