Perinatal Wellness Center Services Detailed


Site Visit to the Perinatal Wellness Center, located at the West Fresno Regional Center. At the board meeting the Department presented the Outcomes Report. This program is “in-house” and staffed by Department of Behavioral Health employees. The Perinatal Wellness Center provides services to mothers and fathers who are experiencing symptoms of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders or Postnatal Depression. If left untreated these disorders can have long-term, adverse affects on parents, babies, and other family members. Most referrals come from obstetricians and public health nurses. Services can be provided in the home, at the office, or at other community locations of the client’s choice. Childcare is provided on site, so that parents can focus on their recovery while participating in treatment. Staff include mental health clinicians, infant mental health specialists, case managers, psychiatrists, and public health nurses. Treatment plans usually extend to the infants’ first birthday, but can be continued as necessary. Perinatal Outcomes: Program staff are pleased to report that in 8 years of service, there have been no maternal suicides or infanticides among their clients. Board members were impressed with the caring attitude of the staff and their outstanding outcome results. Improvements at Central Star Psychiatric Health Facility: The frequent readmission of children after discharge from the Central Star Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF) has been identified as a significant problem. The Department began a Performance Improvement Project in 2017 focusing on youth not linked to behavioral health services prior to hospitalization. The plan was to improve care coordination with communication and more timely follow-up with clients. After tweaking the plan by improving communication between social workers and case managers, with the addition of a 7-day follow-up assessment and short-term therapy until the youth was transitioned to ongoing treatment, a significant reduction in readmissions was observed. The conclusion is that a warmer hand-off and connecting youth with services during the first week post-discharge leads to more successful treatment and reduces readmission to inpatient psychiatric hospitals. The Board is studying results of both its self-evaluation and public evaluations to improve the work that it does and to become more effective and more inclusive.                        Behavioral Health by Carolyn Evans 

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