BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Louisiana’s first inpatient mental health unit dedicated to pregnant and postpartum women is set to open at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge.

The unit will be one of a handful in the nation.

Chief Nursing Officer at Woman’s Hospital, Cheri Johnson, spoke about the impacts of postpartum depression and the effect it has on new mothers.

“I watched my daughters go through this and it is very difficult to help them and be with them,” said Johnson.

Johnson said the hospital saw a need to fill a void in the state of Louisiana. The new unit will offer specialized care for mental health and mood disorders connected to pregnancy.

“It’s a really big step for all of us to make sure that our women are taken care of while they are in this most vulnerable time,” said Johnson.

The new unit will have 10 beds. It also allows the mother to spend time with her newborn while receiving mental health treatment. The mother will be diagnosed by a health professional before being admitted. The length of a stay can vary.

“It can be up to a couple of weeks or three or four days and that really depends on what her condition is and how long it takes her to stabilize and get her into therapy and treatment on an outpatient stay basis,” said Johnson.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said about 75% of women who are diagnosed with postpartum depression don’t receive treatment.

“I’m excited that Woman’s is not only going to be able to bring that and not only to our community but to all of the moms in our state,” said Johnson.

The new unit will be located inside the main building of the hospital. It is scheduled to open in September of 2024.