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Mental Health Resources & When to Seek Help

The weeks and months following the birth of your baby can be exhausting and overwhelming, especially with the lack of sleep, hormonal changes, and discomfort you may experience after delivery.


Postpartum mood and anxiety disorders can occur at any point during pregnancy or after the birth of a new child and up to 3 years postpartum. Symptoms may be different than those of women not in the perinatal period, commonly including: insomnia, guilt, and intrusive thoughts about the safety of yourself and baby. Moms can experience new feelings of rage toward partners and family members. Feeling disconnected or not bonded to the baby is also common.


If you are suffering, please reach out to your healthcare team for help. It is important to recognize and treat depression and anxiety as it can intensify the feelings of overwhelm during this time. Getting help is NOT a sign of "weakness", “failure,” or “giving up” — in fact, it’s the opposite: you’re taking important steps to protect the health of you, your baby, and your family.

In an emergency

If you are in crisis, please call your physician, local emergency number, or one of the National Emergency Hotlines listed below. Emergency Hotlines are available at all times. It is very important that you reach out right now and find the support and information that you need to be safe.

​Cottage Health's Emergency Psychiatric ServicesCALL 805-569-8339

  • 24-hour emergency mental health, psychiatric, and chemical dependency evaluations

  • Emergency consultations and crisis intervention, including triaging for follow-up care

  • Access these services at the Emergency Departments of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital or Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital.

National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: CALL 988

  • The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.

National Crisis Text Line: TEXT HOME to 741741

  • Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7, high-quality text-based mental health support and crisis intervention by empowering a community of trained volunteers to support people in their moments of need

When to seek help

Maternal mental health concerns can include a range of symptoms that occur during pregnancy and/or postpartum. When left untreated, these symptoms can cause devastating consequences for mothers and families. Symptoms may be different than those women experience at other times in life. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is important to seek help:

  • Having difficulty sleeping or staying asleep, feeling tired and exhausted

  • Having obsessive, distressing thoughts that pop into your mind repeatedly and interfere with your ability to cope (i.e. “intrusive thoughts”)

  • Experiencing intense emotions related to breastfeeding, this can include:

    • Feeling inadequate or ashamed due to breastfeeding issues

    • Becoming obsessed with your milk production and/or pumping

    • Experiencing anxiety and feelings of doom when breastfeeding

  • Crying/weeping even at times that you can’t explain

  • Feeling overwhelmed by everyday activities

  • Feeling irritable, angry or resentful

  • Feeling numb or unable to feel emotions

  • Having trouble concentrating, experiencing brain fog

  • Feeling overwhelmed by anxiety or panic attacks

  • Feeling afraid to be alone or alone with your baby

  • Having difficulty bonding with your baby or having a lack of interest in them

  • Having difficulties with relationships, including withdrawing from helpful people

  • Feeling like you’re alone or have no support

  • Having a loss of appetite or overeating

  • Changing your substance use patterns (ex. drinking more alcohol)

Tips for getting help

Contact your obstetric provider or primary care physician as most can evaluate mental health and prescribe medications.


Call the number on the back of your insurance card and ask for local mental health providers covered by your insurance.


Use the PSI Online Provider Directory to search for a mental health provider:


Call the helplines below:

National Maternal Mental Health Hotline:  

Call or Text: 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (1-833-943-5746) in English and Spanish

  • Free, confidential, 24/7 mental health support for moms and their families before, during, and after pregnancy. 

  • Callers will speak to professional counselors and  receive immediate, real-time support, information, and resources. Referrals to local or telehealth providers for long-term care are available.

Postpartum Support International: Call or Text HelpLine 

Call 1 (800) 944-4773, #1 En Español or #2 English 

  • Text in English: 800-944-4773 

  • Text en Español: 971-203-7773

  • When you contact the HelpLine, you will be asked to leave a confidential message and a trained and caring volunteer will return your call or text. They will listen, answer questions, offer encouragement and connect you with local resources as needed. 

Postpartum Education for Parents (PEP) Warmline: 

Call (805) 564-3888 for English, or (805) 852-1595 en Español

  • PEP’s free Warmline service provides confidential one-on-one support from trained volunteers, parents just like you. From basic infant care to breast or bottle feeding issues to postpartum adjustment, the Warmline can be a great source of information and support. 

Other resources in Santa Barbara

Katrina Mitchell, MD, IBCLC, PMH-C at Sansum Clinic 

  • As perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) often co-exist with breastfeeding challenges, Dr. Mitchell provides medication management for these conditions in collaboration with perinatal therapists.

  • To schedule an appointment: (805) 682-7302

  • For after hours or urgent concerns: (646) 709-6048

  • For more information:


Local Perinatal Mental Health Providers:

Santa Barbara County Public Health - Maternal Child Adolescent Health Program (MCH)

  • Provides children, women, and families who are low-income and at high risk for adverse outcomes with health assistance. Offers case management, coordination of services, and comprehensive quality healthcare.

  • Santa Barbara: 805-681-5476

  • Lompoc: 805-737-6442

  • Santa Maria: 805-346-8436


  • Helpful information on preventing, recognizing, and minimizing the effects of childhood trauma.

  • Services include individual therapy, home visitation, parenting classes, postpartum support, group therapy and support, and mental health consultation in early education settings.

  • Visit for more information, or call:

  • Santa Barbara: (805) 965-2376
  • Santa Maria: (805) 614-9160

  • Lompoc: (805) 741-7460

Online resources

Postpartum Support International -

The Postpartum Stress Center -

The Periscope Project -

The Blue Dot Project -

2020 Mom -

Kelty’s Key -

Birth of a Mother Podcast -

If you are aware of resources that should be included or if you notice any missing or outdated information, we kindly request that you contact us at

Disclaimer: The information here is intended to add to your health discussions and planning. It is not intended for use as diagnosis or treatment of a health problem. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your healthcare provider. If you need emergency care, call 911 right away.

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