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beyond blue

crisis nursery's perinatal depression program

ANNOUNCEMENT:  May 23, 2017

May is Perinatal Mood Disorder Awareness Month. Join us on May 30th at 6 pm at the Champaign Public Library for a free screening of the award-winning documentary, The Dark Side of the Full Moon. Our family specialist, Ann Ambrose, joins a group of local experts for an important discussion about the current state of postpartum care in the United States. Follow this link for more information.  We #standwithmoms.


Perinatal depression affects one in every ten mothers. It can affect any woman, regardless of race, age, or income level. Oftentimes, there are certain risk factors at play, including:

  • history of depression
  • lack of social support
  • instability in personal relationships
  • financial concerns
  • challenging life events happening near the time of the pregnancy or birth

Perinatal depression is often confused with the baby blues because many of the symptoms are the same. However, symptoms of perinatal depression are felt more strongly and last longer than that of the roughly two week period of the baby blues.  Some signs of perinatal depression are:

  • persistent feelings of sadness
  • irritability and anxiety
  • uncontrollable crying
  • fear of being an incompetent mother
  • feelings of loneliness
  • thoughts of harming the baby
  • thoughts of death or suicide

It is very important that if you are experiencing several of these feelings that you speak with someone about the warning signs. Reaching out for help can be a frightening and challenging thing to do, but Crisis Nursery will lend a hand without judgment to assist you through this difficult time.

Crisis Nursery is here to offer help for mothers at risk for perinatal depression throughout Champaign County in the form of our Beyond Blue Program funded by the Champaign County Mental Health (708) Board and community donations.  We provide support to these mothers and their families in the form of support groups, parent/child interaction groups, crisis care, referrals to other resources, respite hours and home visits. For details about these different services, click here.

Crisis Nursery's staff is here to help you experience the joys of motherhood by helping you find effective ways to manage your stress and care for your baby. Please call 217-337-2730 for more information about our Beyond Blue program.

Beyond Blue Program Update

Fiscal Year 2017 Third Quarter Update

Vanessa and Paul, first time parents, first came to the Champaign-Urbana community so Paul could advance his studies at the University of Illinois. Far from their support network of family and friends, they were surprised to find themselves overwhelmed by the stresses of parenting. Recognizing the need for additional support, Vanessa first reached out to the Nursery in hopes of meeting other moms. However, shortly after engaging in services, the family found themselves in a scary and stressful situation. Paul began to experience severe health concerns, eventually leading to his hospitalization. A medical emergency is scary enough, but with no family close by and a small infant meant this family was facing one of the most difficult times of their lives. Vanessa took advantage of Crisis Nursery’s emergency childcare program so she could be with Paul in the hospital. Once he was released, the family continued to use Crisis Nursery so they could attend medical appointments together. Paul’s condition meant he couldn’t care for the baby, leaving Vanessa to be the sole caretaker for their 4 month old son. Crisis Nursery staff, recognizing that the family needed some additional support, referred Vanessa to the Beyond Blue program. Vanessa connected with a Family Specialist, and she started seeing a external counselor, in addition to receiving home visits and attending support groups and parent-child interaction groups. During this time, one of our Family Specialists pro-actively identified a potential developmental delay for baby Peter.



When stress, crisis and mental health concerns are present within the home, it is not uncommon for mom to lack the energy and motivation to fully engage her baby in developmental play. In addition to impacting the child’s development, this can also lead to increased frustration and concern in the family when the baby doesn’t progress as expected. In the Beyond Blue program, Vanessa got some much-needed encouragement to alter how she interacted with Peter. Through group interaction and home visits, Vanessa learned more about what Peter needed and she was empowered with a new level of confidence. Vanessa is now aware of exactly what Peter needs from her, and she has the ability to provide it thanks to the support from her Family Specialist. Things are not perfect, and with a chronic illness in the family the road ahead is still unknown. However, with the confidence, support and community the Beyond Blue has provides, there is no doubt they will make it through. -Jessica McCann, Family Specialist

Fiscal Year 2017 Second Quarter Update

This quarter I began working with a young mother who herself has not had the best start to life.  Shannon’s early years were spent with her mother and abusive step-father.  As a result of that abuse, she is residing with her make-shift family consisting of her maternal grandmother, uncle, and boyfriend.   There is not a lot of money in this family, but there is plenty of love and excitement about the new baby due next month.  It has been a wonderful experience to watch her family care for her as she goes through what has been a challenging pregnancy due to a chronic illness.  Each family member works to contribute to the household, with the exception of Shannon who is working on her GED.  She has carried a lot of guilt about being able to contribute to the household financial, but over time, she has been convinced by her family and I that she is giving them a great gift by having this baby they are all looking so forward to.  There is no doubt that this little guy will be born into a loving and supportive home full of adults who cherish him.

-Ann Ambrose, Family Specialist


Fiscal Year 2017 First Quarter Update

For me, there is nothing like being present for the lifting of the fog that is Postpartum Depression.  It is like watching a dimmer switch being slowly turned all the way up or watching a fast motion video of the opening of a flower bud.  Suddenly there is light and beauty where there wasn’t before.  Tears, frustration, and distance turn to smiles, competence, and bonding.  These aren’t the measurable benchmarks of the Beyond Blue program, but they are the results are the reason we do what we do; they are the most treasured moments of my work day.


Last month the mother whose cloud has just lifted came to her first support group in tears.  She was ashamed for the relief she felt when she was told that staff could watch over her baby while she participated in the meeting.  She was terrified to share that she could barely make herself get out of bed to feed her baby in the middle of the night and was not feeling attached to her.  She wondered when the feelings of love between a mother and a child she had heard of would come to her.

After therapy, medication, exercise, respite, family support, and active in engagement in all of the programming Beyond Blue offers she has begun enjoying her time with her baby.  She laughs and smiles with her.  Now she doesn’t want to return to work, not because she isn’t up to it, but because she doesn’t want to be separated from her baby.  Best of all, her baby is so very in love with her mama.  Watching her light up when she hears her mother’s voice or looks into her face is breath taking.  Having a new baby is rough and there is work to be done, but the health of this family has taken a huge turn for the better and I couldn’t be happier for them.

-Ann Ambrose, Family Specialist