Brigham and Women's Hospital and Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital Department of Psychiatry
Women's Mental Health Services at BWH and Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospitals are designed to meet the unique needs of women with depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. Women's hormones, reproductive cycle changes, and life experiences can influence their vulnerability to emotional disturbances, and can affect decisions about medications, psychotherapy and other forms of treatment.
The BWH and Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital Women's Mental Health team is a group of clinicians with specialized training and expertise in treating women with these and other problems:
- Psychiatric symptoms during pregnancy and postpartum
- Reactions to infertility or pregnancy loss
- Premenstrual mood symptoms
- Psychiatric symptoms/emotional changes during the transition to menopause (perimenopause)
- Non-hormonal treatment of hot flashes associated with mood symptoms.
- Reactions to breast cancer, uterine cancer, hysterectomy or other gynecologic problems. During times of reproductive transition (pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause), some women are at heightened risk of developing problems with depression and/or anxiety. There are ways in which women can effectively prevent these problems over the course of their reproductive lives. The clinicians in the BWH and Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital Women's Mental Health Services work with women to plan preventive strategies, including:
- Planning for healthy pregnancies for women with pre-existing psychiatric disorders, and/or women who take medications for mood or anxiety problems. This includes consultation about how to minimize risks of psychiatric medications while trying to conceive, during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding, and about alternatives to medication.
- Assessing a woman's risk for postpartum depression or anxiety before or during pregnancy, and forming a plan to reduce this risk.
- Assessing a woman's risk for developing depression or anxiety during the transition to menopause (perimenopause), and forming a plan to reduce this risk.
The BWH and Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital Women's Mental Health Program is associated with the Department of Psychiatry and the Women's Health Center of Excellence at Brigham and Women's Hospital. This is a national center of expertise in women's health, incorporating clinical, teaching and research programs. Click here to see a map of our Women's Mental Health services.
The Brigham Women's Mental Health Service:
Clinical services within the Women's Mental Health Program include:
This outpatient service offers preconception planning, consultation, diagnostic evaluation, medication management and brief psychotherapy for women with mental health problems related to the reproductive cycle, gynecologic conditions, and menopausal transition.
Faculty and staff clinicians include:
Laura J. Miller, MD, Psychiatrist, Vice Chair for Academic Clinical Services, Director of Women's Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry, BWH and Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital
Pamela Wiegartz, PhD, Psychologist, Director of CBT Services and Training, Department of Psychiatry, BWH and Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital
Geena Athappilly, MD, Geriatric and Women's Mental Health Psychiatrist, Department of Psychiatry, BWH and Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital
To schedule an assessment, call 617-732-6753.
The Women's Mental Health Service at the Gretchen S. and Edward A. Fish Center for Women's Health:
The Fish Center for Women's Health offers its patients comprehensive mental health care in an outpatient clinic setting. Working closely with patients' primary care physicians, our team provides thorough evaluation and consultation within this multidisciplinary setting. Our social workers and psychiatrists provide individualized, attentive care with the goal of addressing symptoms at their source. We provide a supportive environment and foster a sense of connection with our patients, taking the time to understand symptoms in order to address needs in the most efficient and effective manner. Our clinicians serve a wide range of individuals from varying socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds, and our expertise meets this diversity confidently and compassionately. Some of our specialties include the treatment of anxiety and mood disorders, assisting with stress management and coping skills, promoting healthy sleep habits, and maintaining positive relationships. Our mental health team also offers specialized care to address PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder), peri-menopausal and menopausal depression and anxiety, and other issues unique to women's mental health.
We provide the following services:
- Consultations and treatment planning
- Short term counseling
- Medication evaluation and management
- Personalized referrals to area clinical providers
- Group counseling focused on specific themes, such as emotional eating (offered periodically throughout the year)
Faculty and staff clinicians include:
Orit Avni-Baron, MD, Psychiatrist, Director of Women's Mental Health at the Fish Center for Women's Health, Department of Psychiatry, BWH and Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital
Geena Athappilly, MD, Geriatric and Women's Mental Health Psychiatrist, Department of Psychiatry, BWH and Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital.
Sue Etre, LICSW, clinical psychiatric social worker, The Fish Center for Women's Health, Department of Psychiatry, BWH and Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital.
Lynn Curran, LICSW, clinical psychiatric social worker, The Fish Center for Women's Health, Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women's/Faulkner Hospitals.
To schedule an appointment, call (617) 732-9300.
The Infertility Clinic at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital:
This clinic offers mental health treatment (psychotherapy and medication when needed) for women who are struggling with difficult emotional reactions to infertility and its treatment.
Florina Haimovici, MD, Psychiatrist, Department of Psychiatry, BWH and Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital
To schedule an appointment please Dr. Haimovici's office at 617-983-7494.
The Brigham Reproductive Psychiatry Consultation Service:
This service offers inpatient and outpatient mental health evaluations and consultations for women who are receiving obstetric and gynecologic services at Brigham and Women's Hospital. It is located in the Connors Center for Women and Newborns.
Leena Mittal, MD, Director, Reproductive Psychiatry Consultation Service, Department of Psychiatry, BWH and Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital
To request an inpatient consultation, call 617-732-6701. To schedule an outpatient appointment, call 617-732-4840.
Mental health services for women with cancer:
The Dana Farber Cancer Institute's (DCFI) Division of Psychosocial Oncology offers mental health consultation, brief treatment, and liaison with community providers to women who are receiving cancer care at DFCI.
Services provided to women undergoing active cancer treatment include:
- Cognitive-behavioral and problem-focused therapy
- Consultation to medical and community mental health providers regarding cancer-specific issues
Services provided to women who have completed active cancer treatment include:
- Consultation and referral to community mental health providers
- Brief therapy focused on survivorship-related issues
Although our practice includes a large number of women with breast and gynecological cancer, we provide services to women with all cancers. Common cancer-related issues include: side effects of treatment including hormonal fluctuations, emotional distress, body image changes, relationship concerns, existential concerns and grief. Anxiety and depressed mood are common, and previous mental health problems may become active in the setting of cancer.
Young women have particular emotional challenges when undergoing treatment for cancer. Many women experience primary emotional distress related to their role as a mother. Because some cancers and/or their treatments can affect fertility, many women have distress related to these issues. In addition, women often experience concerns about how their cancer will affect their children. Guidance from a mental health professional can assist mothers with cancer in understanding how to best support their children during this time of illness.
Women with cancer undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy may experience cognitive difficulties such as memory lapses, trouble concentrating, difficulty multi-tasking, and slower thinking. We offer comprehensive psychosocial assessments, cognitive screening batteries, education, and treatment to help restore mental functioning during cancer treatment and survivorship.
Karen Fasciano, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist, Director of Young Adult Mental Health, Division of Psychosocial Oncology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Department of Psychiatry at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Fremonta Meyer, MD, Psychiatrist in Women's Cancers and Cancer-Associated Cognitive Assessments,Division of Psychosocial Oncology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Department of Psychiatry at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Halyna Vitagliano, MD, Psychiatric Liaison to Hematologic and Neuro-Oncologic Services, Division of Psychosocial Oncology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Department of Psychiatry at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
To schedule an assessment for a patient receiving cancer treatment at DFCI, call 617-632-6181.
Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) Sexual Health Program
This service offers counseling, education, and treatment to help restore women's sexual functioning across the continuum of cancer treatment from diagnosis through survivorship. Sexual problems after cancer are very common, and many patients are not prepared for these changes. Physical side effects from cancer treatments, emotional changes after cancer including anxiety or depression, relationship difficulties and/or changes in body image often profoundly influence sexual functioning. The program, part of the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) Adult Survivorship Clinic, was established to help cancer patients and survivors cope with both immediate and longer-term medical and psychosexual consequences of disease and treatment.
Sharon Bober, PhD, Psychologist, Director of the DFCI Sexual Health Program, Division of Psychosocial Oncology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Department of Psychiatry at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
For more information about the Sexual Health Program or to schedule an appointment, call 617-632-4523.
Mental Health Services for Women with Trauma who are at Risk for Addiction
This service is for women who are struggling with past traumatic experience(s) who also have a substance/ alcohol use disorder or are concerned that they are at risk for developing a substance/ alcohol use disorder. A large majority of women seeking treatment for substance use disorders also have a history of interpersonal trauma such as physical or sexual assault. In addition, medical events unique to being a woman such as a difficult child birth or breast or gynecological cancer can also be experienced as a traumatic event and lead to PTSD. At least 30% of people diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), also have a co-occurring substance use disorder. Often, one may use drugs or alcohol to cope with their traumatic experience.
We are currently offering consultative services including psychiatric assessments, medication evaluation and management, and short-term therapy. If we feel that you would benefit from providers or clinics that provide a fuller range of PTSD services or Addiction services (including inpatient detox), we will help with referrals to area clinical providers. If your substance or alcohol use disorder is significant, we strongly recommend that part of your treatment involve participation in AA/NA or Smart Recovery. In the future, we are hoping to provide group therapy focused on increasing skills to cope with trauma, while aiding and maintaining sobriety. These services are available to women patients whose primary care doctors are at Brigham and Women's/ Faulkner Hospital.
To arrange an assessment, please call Ambulatory Psychiatry at 617-732-6753.
Erica Veguilla MD, MPH, Psychiatrist, Department of Psychiatry, BWH and Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital.
Mental Health Services for Women with Breast Cancer
Specialized mental health services are provided at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, recovering from breast cancer and for women with an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Patient services include:
Consultation, counseling and brief therapy for women
- Adjusting to a new breast cancer diagnosis;
- Managing anxiety while making treatment decisions
- Coping with concurrent mental health issues
- Coping with the effects of a trauma history on medical and surgical treatment.
- Dealing with ‘post-treatment blues”
- Parents helping their children cope with a mother’s breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
- Women finding it difficult to choose between surgical treatment options
- Women wanting to develop a more helpful support network
- Women wanting to access additional resources and support
- Consultation for helping care for complex patients
- Treatment planning across multiple disciplines to provide patients with anxiety and phobias an opportunity at successful surgical and medical treatment.
Faculty Clinician: Janet Rustow, LICSW, Senior Clinical Social Work Supervisor, Faulkner Breast Centre
To schedule an appointment please call: 617-983-7967
Send Feedback to: Lara Trevino
This page was last modified on 1/22/2013