Tag Archives: psychiatry

New program supports emotional health of moms and babies

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. Continue reading

Program addresses shortened lifespan of the mentally ill

Dr. Mark Linzer

Dr. Mark Linzer

Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) has recently established a new program in Medical Psychiatry to address the needs of patients with co-existing medical and psychiatric illnesses.

“The literature shows that patients with psychiatric illness die up to 25 years sooner than patients without psychiatric illness,” explains program co-founder Dr. Mark Linzer. “While there are multiple causes for this mortality gap, the HCMC Program in Medical Psychiatry is designed to address many of these issues for both inpatients and outpatients with medical and psychiatric illnesses.”

Dr. Linzer, along with Chief of Psychiatry Dr. Michael Popkin and Dr. Ellen Coffey, a senior general internist, designed the program to include:
1) multidisciplinary teaching rounds on the inpatient Psychiatry service; 2) an internist practicing in the psychiatric outpatient day treatment program; 3) 5 mental health professionals embedded in the Medicine Clinics at HCMC; and 4) a developing medicine psychiatry unit on the inpatient Medicine service.  The program has received support from UCare, and funds have been used to build a database to oversee an evaluation of the multifaceted program.

“What if you or someone you love had a common health problem, and it was discovered that people who did not have that common problem actually  lived longer?” asks program co-founder Dr. Ellen Coffey. “We wanted to do something about this — so we targeted our efforts to establishing the program to achieve healthier outcomes for our patients with mental illness.”  

Physicians and psychiatric staff meet weekly to assess patient progress, psychiatric and medical care needs.

Physicians and psychiatric staff meet weekly to assess the psychiatric and medical care needs of patients.

This model program seeks to improve the quality of care of medical-psychiatric patients, develop a new workforce interested in caring for these patients, and become self-sustaining so the care can be continued for years to come at HCMC and emulated elsewhere.

“It has been a privilege to participate in building the Medical Psychiatry program at HCMC,” said Dr. Linzer.  “It is both rewarding and meaningful to think that we might be able to address the premature mortality among these vulnerable patients.”

An article about HCMC’s Medical Psychiatry program, (currently available online for subscribers) will be published in the March Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM).  JGIM is the official journal of the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM).  JGIM promotes improved patient care, research and education in general internal medicine.

Health of babies is dependent on physical and emotional health of moms

Dr. Helen Kim

Just in time for Mother’s Day,  an essay published in JAMA this week  authored by Dr. Helen Kim from HCMC  shines a light on mothers with mental illness and their children.  This essay describes the dilemma well-meaning healthcare providers create by telling mothers with depression that taking medication to help themselves will harm their babies.  As the essay describes, the health of babies is dependent on the physical and emotional health of their mothers.

Research shows that infants and very young children are particularly vulnerable when living with a depressed or mentally ill parent.  In these young children – ages zero to 3 – stress regulatory systems and brain development are impacted by a depressed caregiver.  This sets the stage for social and emotional problems in children and lowers the possibility for success in all realms of life.

“Depression in parents – both mothers and fathers – undermines healthy development in children and sets them on a trajectory for problems down the road,” explains Dr. Kim.  “But when depressed mothers are treated, they are calmer and more responsive to their infants.  The quality of these day-to-day interactions between caregiver and baby are crucial for healthy brain development in children.”

The research is clear — healthier moms make for healthier babies and children.   To support this mother-baby relationship, Dr. Kim is leading an effort to create the HCMC Parent Baby Program which will include a Mother-Baby Day Hospital and a mental health support line for pregnant women and parents of young children.

“The hope is that these programs will support healthy parenting practices and foster healthy mother-baby attachment to support the development of children and break the poverty-depression/anxiety-neglect/maltreatment cycle that many impoverished and at risk families experience,” says Dr. Kim.

Dr. Kim is the Director of the Hennepin Women’s Mental Health Program. With the support of a Bush Fellowship, she has focused on improving the breadth and quality of perinatal mental health care in Minnesota and developing an integrative model of mental health care for pregnant and postpartum women. Her interests also include perinatal psychopharmacology, maternal-infant health, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and improving access to mental health care for underserved mothers and families. She trained at Massachusetts General Hospital and is now a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota.

Read Dr. Kim’s entire essay at http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/307/18/1923.full