Physicians Hall Front


Aimed at improving maternal mental health in Wisconsin, the Periscope Project exceeds early goals

Mental health disorders are the most common complication of pregnancy, and there is an extreme shortage of specialty psychiatrists in Wisconsin. The Periscope (Perinatal Specialty Consult Psychiatry Extension) Project aims to fill this critical gap by providing free resources for health care providers caring for pregnant and postpartum women who are struggling with mental health or substance use disorders. 

The Medical College of Wisconsin received a $1.2 million grant in 2017 from the United Health Foundation to begin the project. Health care providers that enroll receive teleconsultations with perinatal psychiatrists and information on additional resources for mental health and wellness. 

Thanks to the Periscope Project’s success, Wisconsin women today are receiving more accurate and personalized treatment to meet their mental health needs. In addition, the program is reducing health disparities and increasing healthy birth outcomes. 

In its first nine months, July 2017 to March 2018, the program has:

  • Enrolled more than 300 providers (The original goal was 250.),
  • Performed more than 180 consultations,
  • Given 52 providers information on mental health resources and
  • Given 48 presentations, including 11 in-person presentations to 455 providers.

Most providers taking advantage of all the Periscope Project offers are Ob-Gyn physicians. Others include midwives, family medicine specialists and psychiatric doctors.