Using Personal Experience to De-stigmatize Post-Partum Depression: Meet Psychiatrist Kristine Norris, DO

TransforMD: Describe your traditional path in medicine:

Kristine: I completed Psychiatry residency at Wright State University and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 2015. As I was serving as an Active Duty Psychiatrist in the Air Force at the time, I was assigned Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, AZ and served as the Medical Direct of the Mental Health Flight for four years.

TransforMD: What was the turning point or inspiration for you to make a major shift in your career? What are you doing differently now?

Kristine: I have two children who are very much wanted and who I waited for for a really long time. Then I went through post-partum depression and delayed care because of the same stigma that I fight against on behalf of patients. After getting the help I needed and the cloud that was keeping me from enjoying motherhood cleared, I realized that this was the population where I want to make an impact. I am collaborating with a local referral network specifically for mothers to give them access to a multitude of services from prenatal to early childhood. I also partnered with a local behavioral health center to create an Intensive Outpatient Program for perinatal patients to ensure that mothers do not feel guilty about seeking mental health support and recognizing the fine line between exhaustion and mood disorders.

TransforMD: Did you have doubts or hurdles along the way? What was the biggest challenge? How did you overcome it?

Kristine: Opening a private practice and creating a patient program can challenge even the most confident, especially if there is no alternative if either fails. Surrounding myself with colleagues who have “been there, done that” and are doing it well has been a great challenger to self-doubt.

TransforMD: Imagine you could travel back in time and give yourself an important piece of advice. What would it be, and when would have been the most important time in life to receive it?

Kristine: Don’t wait to get depression treated. Treat early because those weeks post-partum fly by and you want to be present.

TransforMD: How do you feel that the TransforMD Mastery Retreat is helpful and important for women physicians who are wanting some change but not sure what to do or how to do it?

Kristine: It's always important to check in with ourselves and determine whether the path we are on is still the right path or that our goal has not changed. Sometimes life gives us a roadblock that requires us to reassess on how to move forward.

You may follow Kristine at her website and on Facebook!