For families who suffer from the sometimes debilitating impacts of postpartum depression, it can almost seem as if they are alone in their struggles.
But each year, more than 1.3 million women in the U.S. – and thousands in the Inland Empire -- struggle to find support and treatment for postpartum depression and other perinatal mood disorders. To help bring attention to the issue, organizers have planned a screening of the documentary, “Dark Side of the Full Moon,” Oct. 1 at the Box at the Fox Entertainment Plaza in Riverside.
The free screening begins at 6 p.m., but those who want to attend must RSVP by Sept. 17 because seating is limited to 200.
“This is such an important issue, but there are many people in the community who know almost nothing about the struggles that families go through,” said Lisa Dryan, Coordinator of the Inland Empire Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative, which is co-sponsoring the event with the Riverside County Department of Mental Health, Prevention and Early Intervention. “This movie will give those who see it a small taste of the challenges many in our own community face each day.”
There will be a question and answer session after the screening with Executive Producer Dr. Shoshana Bennett, a local mother who struggled with postpartum depression and a panel of mental health experts.
In the film, two women, Jennifer Silliman and Maureen Fura, both with firsthand knowledge of this challenge, came together to give a face and a voice to the countless women who suffer in silence. With the help of Dr. Bennett, they produced a documentary that uncovered disconnects within the medical community to effectively screen, refer, and treat these women.
One in seven women will experience a pregnancy and postpartum mood and anxiety disorder, and one in one thousand will suffer from postpartum psychosis. However, it is the one condition during pregnancy and postpartum that is most often under-diagnosed by care providers.
“Nobody is asking any questions. Women are dying! Families are suffering! And there still isn’t a comprehensive policy to protect mothers,” says Fura, the film’s writer and director.
The collaborative, which includes public health and mental health officials from Riverside and San Bernardino counties, describes itself as “a diverse group of professionals, private individuals and agencies who are committed to raising awareness and increasing access for women and their families in need of mental health services during and after pregnancy.”
To register for the event, go to www.rcdmh.org .