Nurse Midwife Explains How Mental Health Awareness Helps Provide Highest Level of Care in Women's Health

Treating Women's Emotional and Physical Health

Author: Sherry Farney

Treating the whole person is a philosophy of care that addresses a patient’s physical, mental and emotional health. Those seeking gynecologic or obstetric care may not expect to have a provider trained in assessing and providing help for all three. Certified nurse midwife Lisa Cavett believes having a greater knowledge of this relationship enhances the care she gives her patients.

“Actually, physical changes that a woman goes through such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can spur dramatic shifts in hormones, mood and her overall sense of wellbeing,” said Cavett. “Even though there is a lot of excitement and happiness associated with pregnancy and birth, as a health care provider I want to be sure I am prepared to offer assistance for when patients may be experiencing issues such as depression and anxiety triggered by these life changes."

Having a deep-rooted passion for women’s health leads her to continue her education. As a member of the American College of Nurse Midwives, Cavett is able to expand her clinical knowledge with courses such as Advanced Evaluation & Management of Psychiatric Illness in Reproductive-Age Women.

Attending sessions on topics such as hormones, mood and pregnancy; effective strategies for treating depression and anxiety, and maternal psychiatric treatment provides a greater awareness for identifying symptoms where a mental health professional could help. She can serve as an initial source for medical treatments. Patients with a complex diagnosis or those who have not responded to initial medication are referred to another mental health professional for care. The advanced training also aids in caring for patients currently taking medication to manage their mental health.

“In recent years, I believe society has broken down the stigma of mental health as something to hide,” Cavett said. “Whenever people are more comfortable discussing their mental health with their provider, it is a win. Discussing and addressing mental health as part of the care plan helps me provide the highest level of care, which is what I strive to give all of my patients.”

Like OB/GYNs, midwives are health professionals who will guide you from the teen years through menopause and beyond. This includes pregnancy, labor and labor pain management, birth, as well as family planning, preconception and infertility counseling, prescriptions, contraception, gynecologic care, cancer screening and clinical breast exams, immunizations, menopause care, sexual health management, sexually transmitted infections, and well-woman and primary care visits.