Having a baby is a major life change. While it’s often a time filled with hope and joy, it can also be scary and overwhelming.
Some people experience a sadness that goes beyond new parent jitters. This is called postpartum depression, and it’s more common than you might think. In fact, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that
If you’ve been experiencing this condition, you’re not alone. You don’t have to overcome it alone, either. There’s help available for postpartum depression.
Plus, there are resources available for people who experience postpartum depression and don’t have insurance.
Postpartum depression is a specific type of depression that occurs after having a baby. Postpartum depression is most common in mothers, but fathers can experience it, too. It can last for weeks or even months.
- guilt or helplessness
- sadness, anxiety, or anger that isn’t connected to a specific event
- excessive crying
- loss of energy
- trouble concentrating
- eating more or less than usual
- sleeping more or less or than usual
- feeling distant from friends and family
- feeling distant from your baby
- constant daunting that you’ll be able to care for your baby
- thoughts of self-harm or harm to your baby
Postpartum depression can be frightening and isolating. Fortunately, there’s help and treatment available.
Getting care for your postpartum depression is an important step for you and your family.
It might seem like you don’t have options for postpartum depression care if you don’t have insurance, but that’s not the case. There are resources available to help you get the treatment you need.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) can help you find low-cost treatment in your area. Enter your zip code in the locator to find local mental health clinics.
SAMHSA also sponsors the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can call this toll-free line at any time of day, 7 days per week if you need emergency mental health support. Call 800-273-TALK(8255) for help.
Community health centers
The Health Resources & Service Administration (HRSA) can help you find community health centers near you. There are great options for care of all kinds, including mental healthcare.
The centers are federally funded and offer sliding scale fees based on your income. They can help you find a community health center in your area.
Churches, synagogues, and other faith communities often offer supportive pastoral counseling services. These services usually charge sliding scale fees based on your income.
You can call your local community churches to learn more.
You have options beyond the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline if you want to call someone for help. There are lines specific to postpartum care. You can get both immediate support and connections to low-cost or even free local mental health assistance.
Crisis lines include:
- Postpartum Support International (English and Spanish available): 800-944-4PPD (4773)
- The Postpartum Depression Alliance of Illinois (Illinois residents only): 866-364-MOMS (6667)
- The Postpartum Depression Family Helpline (New Jersey residents only): 800-328-3838
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) (available 24/7): 800-950-6264
Support groups are a great way to get help for your postpartum depression. A support group isn’t the same as professional therapy or medication, but it can be helpful to talk with other parents who are experiencing postpartum depression.
Support group members might also be able to recommend local low-cost mental health professionals.
Support group options include:
- Local support groups. You can find local support groups using this tool.
- Postpartum Support International (PSI). You can join this online support group, partnered with Smart Patient, to get help at any time of day from the comfort of your home.
- Postpartum Men. This online support group is for fathers experiencing postpartum depression.
ClinicalTrials.gov lists clinical trials. You can search for postpartum trials in your area.
Try searching for perinatal mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression for the best results. There might be clinical trials in your area looking for participants. You can generally get free care during a trial.
You can also look into options for free and low-cost insurance. You might have not qualified before you had a baby. However, income limits are based on family size, so you might qualify now that you’ve had a child.
Medicaid is the federal health insurance program for families with limited incomes. Get started by contacting your state’s Medicaid office or by filling out an application on the Health Insurance Marketplace. You can apply for Medicaid at any time throughout the year.
Medicaid is overseen by each state. The rules for coverage and the income limits will depend on the state you live in. In most states, Medicaid covers mental healthcare, including care for postpartum depression.
The Health Insurance Marketplace
The Health Insurance Marketplace is a government website created by the Affordable Care Act that allows you to apply for health insurance. Plans are available in all states, and you can choose plans that offer various levels of coverage.
The cost for a plan depends on your state and income level. If you have a limited income, you’ll receive a tax subsidy to help you pay for your health insurance.
Normally, you can only use the Health Insurance Marketplace during open enrollment. However, having a baby allows you to apply outside open enrollment. You have 60 days after the birth of your baby to enroll.
Postpartum depression is a serious mental health concern. It’s important to get the help you need to care for yourself and your baby.
If you don’t have insurance, there are options. You can find low-cost help from community clinics or faith-based organizations. Support groups and mental health hotlines can also provide assistance.