Frequently Asked Questions
You will find the answer to the most frequently asked questions here.
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) describe a group of disorders and distressing feelings that parents may feel during pregnancy and throughout the first year after pregnancy. The term “perinatal” refers to the period during pregnancy and for the first year postpartum. Approximately one in three new parents experience some symptoms of PMADs, and many partners do as well. As many as four in five new birthing parents experience the "baby blues", a postpartum state of emotions ranging from tearfulness and unhappiness to worry, self-doubt, and fatigue. While baby blues are very common in the first few weeks after delivery, they go away on their own within a couple of weeks. If symptoms are more severe or last longer than the first few weeks, you may be suffering from a PMAD. Symptoms include feeling/having:
- Hopeless or helpless
- Overly stressed or overwhelmed
- A lack of motivation, energy, or interest
- More scared or worried than usual
- Angry, guilty, shameful
- Reliving past trauma
- Obsessive thoughts
- Panic attacks
- Sleep problems
PMADs are the most common complication of pregnancy and the postpartum period yet are highly treatable. Recent data has shown that since the COVID pandemic, the percentage of birthing parents with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) has increased dramatically. Now, ~1 in 3 birthing parents will experience symptoms of PMADs, up from 1 in 5 prior to the pandemic. The experience is even more harrowing for Black birthing parents: The data shows that while PMADs disproportionately impact Black birthing parents (at twice the rate of white birthing parents), they are 50% less likely to receive help.
There are increased risks to both you and your baby if anxiety and depression during the perinatal period is left untreated or suboptimally treated (that is, treated but still symptomatic):
Increased risks for you
- Poor nutrition
- Poor compliance with prenatal care
- Preterm birth
- Low birth weight
- Mania, psychosis, suicidal ideation, death
- Substance use
- Chronic depression and anxiety symptoms
- Mania, psychosis, suicidal ideation, death
- Decreased productivity at work
- Decreased quality of life
- Increased healthcare costs, visits to ER
Increased risks to your child:
- Poor bonding between infant and parent
- Breast/chestfeeding difficulties and decreased duration
- Infant death
- Delays in cognitive development
- Early onset of depressive illness
- Emotional and conduct disorders
- Special education needs
Getting treatment with Hey Jane
You are eligible for treatment with Hey if you are::
- At least 18 years old
- Reside in NYC, Long Island, or Westchester county
- Are pregnant or have given birth within the last 18 months
- Medically eligible
Check your eligibility here.
There are three treatments that Hey Jane offers for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
For early access members who join our pilot program, treatment will include 45-minute therapy sessions (every other week) via video calls. It will also include unlimited messaging with your provider and access to The Lounge, our anonymous online perinatal support community. Optional a la carte video therapy sessions are available if you and your provider find it would be beneficial to meet more frequently.
During your initial consultation, a certified perinatal mental health care provider will perform a comprehensive evaluation, provide a diagnosis, and develop a treatment plan, which may include antidepressant medications.
If you are prescribed medication, your provider will use a combination of video follow-up visits and secure messaging every two to four weeks to check in. Your medication dosage may be adjusted based on your needs. Your treatment will also include unlimited messaging with your provider should anything come up in between check-ins, as well as access to The Lounge, our anonymous online perinatal support community.
Complete Care (Medication and Therapy)
For many, the most effective treatment for anxiety and depression is a combination of antidepressant medication and therapy. This includes those navigating perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. This treatment option includes therapy sessions (one every other week) and medication management. It will also include unlimited messaging with your provider and access to The Lounge, our anonymous online perinatal support community. With this comprehensive treatment plan you will have all of the tools you need to start feeling like yourself again as soon as possible.
We're currently testing Hey Jane’s perinatal mental health care offerings with a team of experienced perinatal mental health providers, and a small group of patients. We’re calling this our early access pilot program. You can join the pilot and get 50% off any plan for a limited time in return for providing feedback. As an early access pilot participant, you’ll be required to share your feedback on the program, and your experience through interviews with our team, as well as answering additional questions throughout your treatment. All fees are waived for early access Medicaid participants.
The pilot runs for six months. At the end of the pilot, you will have the option to continue treatment with your Hey Jane provider(s), or we will help transition your care to other providers whom we trust and will continue to provide the same level of care. We will make sure that you are never left with a gap in your care, so that you can continue to feel like your best self.
Start by confirming your eligibility. For now, we’re accepting medically eligible people in New York who are pregnant or have given birth in the past 18 months. From there, you can schedule a free 60-minute consultation with a specialized provider. Ahead of your appointment, you’ll complete a comprehensive health assessment to review during your session. You’ll leave your call with a customized game plan for getting the care you need.
We will periodically ask you to fill out follow-up forms to update us on your symptoms.
Tracking your progress is the best way to ensure you get better, and stay that way. Studies show patient-reported measures of their outcomes is a very important step in ensuring that you are receiving the optimal care for your symptoms.
Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders present with a wide variety of symptoms and are described differently by patients. To ensure we are accurately and comprehensively diagnosing and tracking your progress we use a combination of three validated, evidence-based screeners for anxiety, depression, and stress.
Your provider will review your responses and compare them to your prior results to make sure you are on the right treatment path and making progress. Any time we ask you to complete a form screener, your provider will go over your results and explain what they mean.
The current state of perinatal mental health care in the United States leaves many people suffering without access to appropriate treatment. As few as 5% of people with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders achieve remission, and as few as 2% participate in continued treatment. Hey Jane is here to change that. By providing fully-integrated care with close follow up and periodic screenings, we make sure everyone has access to all of the support they need to get better as quickly as possible. We ensure you get back to feeling like yourself again by utilizing evidence-based objective screening tools and working with you to modify your treatment plan as needed. If you are started on medication, it is likely your dosage will need to be adjusted over time or your medication may need to be switched completely for your symptoms to fully resolve. If you are starting with therapy only, your provider will be monitoring your symptoms and, if they are not improving over time, may recommend adding in medication to your treatment plan. By building a trusting partnership between you and your care team and closely monitoring your symptoms, we can focus on helping you achieve your treatment goals as quickly as possible.
Hey Jane’s team consists of board-certified, US-licensed providers from top institutions—who also understand what you’re going through, because they’ve been through it themselves.
Jessica Vernon, MD, is Hey Jane’s Medical Director (and mom to Cahya and Lyla). For more than a decade she has been focusing on pregnancy and postpartum support, to help as many birthing parents as possible find their own paths to recovery—because she’s been there. She believes that taking care of your mental wellness means you’re helping your whole family thrive. Jessica also serves as the director of the Perinatal Mental Health Program at NYU Langone Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates, and is a physician advisor for the Black Mothers Matter Committee, where she received a grant to create an educational curriculum training OB/GYNs in caring for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). Jessica received her MD from the University of Texas and completed her residency at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore.
Karen Sheffield-Abdullah, PhD, RN, CNM, is a certified nurse-midwife, mindfulness teacher, and researcher (as well as mom to Eddie Jr., Brynn, Amaya, and Laila). Her research examines and explores stress and anxiety in Black birthing parents and the impact on their birth outcomes, quality of life, and wellbeing. She is dedicated to providing culturally humble, person-centered care that elevates the voices of marginalized communities so that they are seen, heard, and valued. Karen is a member of the APA Maternal Health Board and had been a nurse abstractor on the Maternal Mortality Review Committee. She received her MSN from Yale University, and her PhD in nursing from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
Vanessa Barisano, PMHNP-BC, is a perinatal psychiatric nurse practitioner, certified postnatal educator, PMAD survivor, and mom to Daniela and Anthony who has dedicated the past 30 years to supporting her patients through this journey called parenthood. Her focus is medication management in combination with supportive talk therapy tailored for her patients’ specific needs, and has vast experience treating a broad range of mental health conditions—integrating evidence-based research, clinical expertise, and patient priorities. Vanessa received her BSN from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, her MSN from Stony Brook University, and completed the Psychiatry Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and received her perinatal mental health certificate from Postpartum Support International. Vanessa currently serves as an adjunct clinical professor with the accelerated baccalaureate nursing program at Stony Brook University.
Hey Jane is offering a combination of talk therapy and interpersonal therapy tailored to your specific needs, which has been shown to be one of the most effective treatments for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). We are here to service your mental health needs in a warm, compassionate, judgment-free atmosphere providing both individualized and specialized care. You will learn coping skills, stress management techniques, plus how to communicate more effectively with your partner and resolve conflict. Our focus is optimizing your functioning, while forming stronger relationships with your support system, and strengthening bonding or attachment with your infant. Your provider is skilled at tailoring your therapy sessions in a safe, supportive space where you can feel comfortable sharing and building trust.
Our therapy offering currently includes biweekly 45-minute therapy sessions (two per month). If you and your provider feel you would benefit from more frequent therapy sessions, we offer a la carte therapy sessions for $100 per session.
Hey Jane prescribes medications that are evidence-based to treat perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). You and your provider will make the decision together based on your symptoms/functioning, what medications have worked in the past, and your preferences. Your medications will be delivered directly to you via Alto pharmacy. The cost of medications is included in the cost of the program, so you don’t have to worry about additional bills from the pharmacy. We will schedule your appointments and send your follow-up questionnaires to make sure we have plenty of time to get you your next refill before you run out.
Hey Jane prescribes medications that are safe to use during pregnancy and breast/chestfeeding. However, all medications may have side effects, warnings, and drug interactions, so it’s important to weigh the risks versus benefits of taking medication. It is also important to consider the risks of an untreated condition like postpartum anxiety or depression when making the decision to start a medication. This is especially important as during pregnancy and postpartum there are risks to both the birthing parent and the baby.
Any medication you take has potential side effects and risks, however antidepressants, especially SSRIs, have a well-documented safety profile for breast/chestfeeding. You and your provider will have a thoughtful discussion regarding your concerns and questions about medication. The safety of combining medication with breast/chestfeeding is our priority. You can find more information on risks of different medications that may be prescribed for your mental health here.
Yes, you must be in New York during the time of your appointment with your provider. If you are traveling, don’t worry: Our care team will work with you to find a time that works to meet once you are back in the state.
Payment and Insurance
The cost of your treatment will depend on your plan. As an early access member in our pilot, we’re currently offering three treatment plans at 50% off for a limited time: Complete Care ($175 per month), Therapy only ($140 per month), and Medication only ($45 per month) in return for your feedback.
All fees are waived for early access Medicaid participants—because everyone deserves care and support throughout their postpartum journey. See more information on each plan.
We’re not currently accepting insurance for our postpartum support treatment plans. Join as an early access member today and get 50% off any plan for a limited time, plus the chance to help other parents by sharing feedback on the program and your experience. All fees are waived for early access Medicaid participants—because everyone deserves care and support throughout their postpartum journey.
Hey Jane’s postpartum mental health offerings are currently being tested in a pilot program. You can join the pilot as an early access member and get 50% off any plan for a limited time, plus the chance to help other parents by sharing feedback on the program and your experience. All fees are waived for early access Medicaid participants—because everyone deserves care and support throughout their postpartum journey. See more information on each plan.
You will be billed on a monthly basis after signing up for one of our treatment options. To cancel, please message the care team via our secure messaging platform (https://spruce.care/HeyJanePerinatal) two or more business days before your next pay period.
Because of limited space in our pilot, we require a $20 deposit for your initial 60 minute consultation. If you attend your appointment or cancel this appointment at least 48 hrs before your scheduled time, your deposit will be refunded. If you choose to join the pilot, this deposit can be applied to your cost of care.
Once you’ve joined the pilot program, you have 24 hours to cancel your program for a full refund. After 24 hours, we will refund you the amount less a $150 fee to cover a portion of the cost of the beginning of your program.
Communicating with your care team
You will receive an appointment confirmation email, which will contain the Zoom link to securely join your video appointment with your provider.