Megan O’Hara Honored by Delaware Legislature for Maternal Mental Health Efforts

Megan O’Hara, LCSW, PMH-C, of the Center for Women’s Emotional Wellness, was honored by the Delaware General Assembly in May for her outstanding work in maternal mental health and her ongoing efforts to increase awareness about the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders in pregnant and postpartum people. O’Hara, who works with ChristianaCare’s perinatal patients, received a tribute from the General Assembly, which also passed a resolution recognizing May 5 as Maternal Mental Health Day in Delaware.

Megan O’Hara

Perinatal mood disorders are related to mood and anxiety symptoms that occur during pregnancy or up to one year postpartum. As many as 20% of people who are pregnant or postpartum will experience a perinatal mood disorder, making it the most common complication from pregnancy and childbirth.

O’Hara and other perinatal mental health advocates, including Malina Spirito, PsyD., M.Ed., have called on Delaware’s legislature to expand screening requirements from “maternal depression” to the full spectrum of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

“The mental health of mothers impacts the entire family’s social and health trajectory. Supporting mothers with quality mental health care and social support will go a long way to ameliorate many of the public health concerns we currently experience as a community,” O’Hara said.

O’Hara is one of the founders of Center for Women’s Emotional Wellness and also a founding board member of the Delaware chapter for Postpartum Support International. She received the 2021 Governor’s Compassionate Champion Award for her work on implementing trauma-informed care initiatives in health care, which acknowledges the role trauma may play in an individual’s life and includes ways to promote systemic and institutional advancements to help individuals feel safe, provide comfort and offer support.

O’Hara earned a master’s degree in clinical social work from Widener University in 2003 and completed her clinical training with sexual abuse survivors. At the Center for Women’s Emotional Wellness, O’Hara’s provides assessments, education and treatment to women and their families who are at risk for or experiencing perinatal mood disorders. She also provides clinical supervision to graduate students and provides professional education and consultation, including sitting on the Maternal Mortality Review Board.