Women’s Mental Health
Women’s Mental Health @Ob/Gyn is a mental health service embedded within Columbia’s Obstetrics & Gynecology practices. With deep expertise in women’s mental health, we care for women across the life course, and have a special focus on stress, anxiety, and depression during pregnancy and the postpartum, as well as during fertility challenges and pregnancy loss. We also counsel women during menopause and its significant emotional and physical stressors. Any patient who is referred to us from Columbia’s Ob/Gyn department is welcome, regardless of gender identity.
Because it is often difficult to find psychotherapy and psychiatric medication management covered by insurance, we have made it an aim of our service to accept most commercial insurances. We make mental health care accessible — through use of insurance and telehealth visits — because in our Obstetrics & Gynecology Department, we follow the World Health Organization’s view: There is no health without mental health.
Our approach to mental health care is guided by evidence-based principles, focusing on each woman as a unique person with appreciation that no one treatment protocol is suitable for all.
We provide psychotherapy and medication treatment, support for couples, and support groups (see below for more information on these free groups). We aim to help people in the earliest stages of distress to prevent more significant conditions such as postpartum depression or trauma-related depression following a pregnancy loss. We offer consultation for medication use while pregnant and/or breastfeeding and treat those with a history of psychiatric conditions such as bipolar disorder or re-occurring depression.
We also host free and low-cost virtual support groups, which offer a place to talk about challenges, life transitions, and emotions in a welcoming and inclusive environment. These groups offer support around topics such as fertility, menopause, endometriosis, pre-term birth, perinatal loss, the postpartum period, LGBTQIA+ parenting and more. For more information, complete our interest form or contact Kiyanne Rivers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 90% of mental health practitioners identify as White. Though we continuously are working to diversify our team, our numbers are consistent with the national averages. It is our top priority to address issues of systemic racism, interpersonal racism, and bias in our work as clinicians, and in the mental health care system as a whole. We are committed to addressing bias and stigma in care, especially as it relates to race and ethnicity.
At our PerinatalPathways Lab, we conduct research studies with pregnant people and their babies to improve their well–being and their future children’s lives.
For over 25 years, we have contributed to the scientific evidence showing that when pregnant people experience stress, anxiety, and depression, it affects them as well as their offspring in utero. There is a ‘third pathway’ for the familial inheritance of risk for psychiatric illness beyond shared genes and the quality of parental care: the impact of pregnant people’s distress on fetal and infant brain–behavior development. Our projects involve fetal assessment, newborn neuro-imaging, genetics, epigenetics, psychoneuroimmunology, mother–child interaction, and supportive interventions to (1) characterize maternal experiences and the effects on children’s development and (2) promote maternal psychobiological health for the mother–child dyad. Please visit our lab’s website to download our publications and learn about our current research studies.
The Women’s Mental Health Division offers training opportunities in mental health care as well as in perinatal research.
We offer year-long clinical practica for social work and psychiatric nurse practitioner trainees. Please contact Ms. Claudia Roca, Division Administrator email@example.com to learn more about these opportunities or Ms. Kristina D’Antonio, LCSW, Manager of Clinical Services and supervising social worker firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Ashlie Butler, supervising psychiatric nurse practitioner email@example.com.
For those interested in perinatal research, we have training opportunities encompassing all academic levels. We mentor undergraduate volunteers (through our affiliation with the New York State Psychiatric Institute) for year-long positions, 8-10 hours weekly. Please contact Stanley Ruiz firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Monk email@example.com about these positions. We have several postdoctoral appointments open for PhDs or MDs. Each year, we have international scholars join us as visiting faculty. Please contact Ms. Roca or Dr. Monk regarding your interest.