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June 27, 2005

Innovative Catholic Social Services Program Helps to Prevent Postpartum Depression

Motherhood brings some of life's greatest joys, but it can also lead to a struggle with depression. Approximately one in 10 new mothers experience some form of postpartum depression, putting themselves and their children at risk for harm.

The Bucks County Family Service Center runs an innovative screening program that may prevent postpartum depression. The center is an agency of Catholic Social Services (CSS) of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The center's team of three female therapists visits women seeking prenatal check-ups at Mother Bachmann Maternity Center, Bensalem, a free clinic for expectant mothers, as well as Doylestown Hospital and Grandview Hospital in Sellersville. Women who choose to take part in the screening process offer details on their mental health history and other factors. If the onset of symptoms of depression is observed by the case managers or clinic staff during follow-up visits, the therapists use the background to prevent or provide early treatment of a possibly intense and dangerous depression experienced by a client.

This preventative approach is the innovative feature of the program, intended to help new mothers cope with the stresses they face and prevent child abuse. CSS developed the screening tool to address postpartum depression in 2002 at the suggestion of Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency.

Bucks County Family Service Center, offering numerous social services, is supported by the annual Catholic Charities Appeal.

Catholic Social Services in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia operates Family Service Centers in all the counties of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties).

For a complete listing of CSS Family Service Centers, visit Catholic Social Services on the web at

Matthew Gambino
Associate Director

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