Most people go into a doctor’s appointment assuming they will be treated for whatever issues they may be having. No person goes into an appointment assuming that they will be escorted out of the building by police.
However, that’s exactly what happened to Jessica Porten, a young mother of two. A personal Facebook post, now viral, recounts the unusual events below.
While attending an OB appointment four months after her second birth, Porten communicated issues she was having with PPD. She communicated to a nurse practitioner of having “postpartum depression that [was] manifesting in fits of anger.”
She further communicated that she had a strong support system and suppressed whatever violent thoughts she might have had. In short, she was likely no immediate danger to herself, or to her children.
The nurse then left the room to talk to a doctor regarding the PPD. However, the established mental health rules and response at this office led to a severely miscalculated overreaction.
Although Porten was hoping to speak to a doctor about treatment options, she never had the chance. Instead, an office staffer was directed to sit with her (and guard her) for an hour until police showed up.
Once police arrived, they escorted her to the nearest ER for a psychiatric evaluation. After a series of invasive tests and maltreatment, Porten finally met a social worker at 11 p.m.
Porten was then granted a discharge, as the social worker quickly discovered that she was not dangerous. After ten hours of waiting, Porten was finally able to go home.
But to make matters worse, Porten never spoke to a doctor, nor retrieved treatment options for what she originally scheduled her appointment for.
This displays a glaring issue of how our health care system deals with PPD and depression in general.
The whole experience likely made her symptoms worse, as anxiety built throughout the day.
Furthermore, the amount of times she was looked at as if she was crazy in this process must have been disheartening. Porten said of the experience: “even if I was mentally unstable, suicidal, and unfit to parent (which I am not), the way the situation was handled is not helpful to people.”
Since this event, Porten has become an advocate for Maternal Mental Health (MMH) with the organization 2020 Mom. She hopes that her story will help pass a number of bills currently being introduced to lawmakers that would change how health care responds to similar issues.
The stigmas related to all forms of depression are dreadfully misunderstood and mismanaged.
The chemical imbalance responsible for depression (worsened by pregnancy and birth) must be understood like any other physiological disorder in order for correct treatment to be administered.
We hope that Porten is treated properly in the future, and gets better soon. Hopefully the misfortune of her own experience will prevent any similar ones from happening in the future.
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