Perinatal depression is the most common complication of childbearing, with about 15% of women experiencing significant depression following childbirth and 10% during pregnancy, according to Postpartum Support International.

To help connect municipal employees with the resources needed to help themselves or a loved one facing maternal mental health challenges, MIIA’s Health Benefits Trust will soon launch a six-part informational video series available to anyone, regardless of health plan status, at and in the MIIAWinners wellness portal.

Michelle Visser, a licensed psychotherapist and certified early intervention specialist with extensive experience in perinatal and parental mental health, worked with MIIA to develop the program and lead the video training. The series of 10- to 15-minute videos will include an overview description of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, screening and discussion tools, risk factors, tips for self-advocating in the doctor’s office, and treatment and support options.

In addition to reducing stigma around maternal mental health, Visser said a goal of the program is to ensure that people have factual information, as opposed to what might be covered by the media. It’s important to know that perinatal depression can occur over a broad spectrum, from mild to more serious cases, she said.

“Women don’t often think of mental health as part of the pregnancy experience, and symptoms can be surprising,” Visser said. “My hope is that people might access these videos and have the information that they need to help themselves or a loved one.”

For additional resources on maternal mental health, visit or visit the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts website’s “MyBlue” section under health and wellness.

For immediate assistance, call the Postpartum Depression Crises Hotline (1-800-PPD-MOMS), the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline (1-833-9-HELP4MOMS), or the national suicide and crisis lifeline at 988.

Maternal mental health informational flyers (for posting in worksite common areas) are available from both MIIA and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.