New perinatal clinic opening up, family that lost daughter to postpartum depression shows support

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Crouse Health is opening a first of its kind clinic in our area to help parents struggling with mood and anxiety disorders after having a baby. 

One local family is showing support for the new resource after they lost their daughter to postpartum depression. Debie and Joe Ferrara remember their daughter, Valerie, as a joyful woman full of life. However, that began to change when she got pregnant with her second son, and it only got worse after she had him.

“She said the pain had become all encompassing and every single second of every single day was pure hell,” said Debie Ferrara.

Valerie, struggling with postpartum anxiety, depression, and psychosis, took her own life three years ago, ten weeks after her little one was born.

“I don’t one more mom to ever have to go through what it’s like to lose your daughter,” Debie said.

Valerie’s parents said they help guide those who are struggling, but the issue itself has to be treated by a doctor. That’s where a new clinic run by Crouse Health comes in. It’s the first of its kind offering therapeutic, psychiatric and medical help to new moms and dads dealing with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

“We want to make things better for our next generation. If a mom is depressed, more than likely, her children will become depressed,” said Christine Kowaleski, Administrator of the Crouse Perinatal Family Support Program.

And with 10% of all men, and one in five women susceptible to the disease, Kowaleski said the time to take action is now.

“I just was shocked at how many women were affected by this. And so we both afterward, were like you know, we have to do whatever we can,” said Joe Ferrara, Debie’s husband, and Valerie’s father.

The clinic is expected to open up at the CNY Medical Center located at 739 Irving Ave in Syracuse later this month. Not only will they treat postpartum anxiety and depression, but the clinic will offer help with breastfeeding and reiki massages.

Onondaga County Executive, Ryan McMahon, has also declared the month of May as perinatal mood and anxiety disorder month, offering educational resources to parents in all of our local libraries. 

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For more local news, follow Julia LeBlanc on Twitter @JulialeblancNC9

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