On June 14th State Representative Ellen Story and Massachusetts State Senators Joan Lovely and Bruce Tarr hosted the second annual PPD Awareness Day at the Massachusetts State House in Boston, Massachusetts. Postpartum Progress was thrilled to be a co-sponsor of this event that brought together stakeholders in maternal mental health from across the Commonwealth to share their expertise and knowledge.
There were many state legislators and non-profit organizations present, as well as care providers and representatives from local hospitals. The event works to raise legislative awareness of PPD and related illnesses and increase access to the various services available in the state.
Postpartum Progress founder and CEO Katherine Stone and Warrior Mom Margaret Rice spoke during the program. Also speaking were Dr. Jayne Singer from the Brazelton Institute, Maria Merced and Yaquelin Ocana from the Lynn Community Health Center, Cate Johannessen from the Every Mother Project, Dr. Michael Yogman, and State Secretary Marylou Sudders.
The speakers shared how their individual organizations and programs are meeting the needs of families across Massachusetts, specifically those women and their families who are underserved and at high risk for PPD or another maternal mental illness.
Margaret began by describing her personal experience with postpartum anxiety and OCD. Her honest description of the symptoms she faced while her first child was still a newborn resonated with the other survivors in the room and helped the care providers understand how lonely and lost a new mom can feel. Most impactful, she highlighted a huge gap in community supports by explaining that when looking for peer support, she was unable to find a support group available after her working hours. When she turned online for support, she found Postpartum Progress and realized she was not alone.
In town for the Concord Climb Out of the Darkness®, Katherine spoke about how Postpartum Progress is supporting the families in Massachusetts and how our Warrior Moms are able to reach thousands of women with our online programs, in-person events, and educational tools. Katherine described how reading the work of Dr. Jean Watson Driscoll was the first time she heard anyone speak of postpartum anxiety and OCD in a way that let her know someone understood. She pointed out that seeking help for mental illness is often not linear, making the argument for professional social media and online networks that help direct women to services and help.
She spoke about downloads of the New Mom Checklist, distribution of over 71,000 Hugs Cards, and the over 2.6 million blog pageviews in 2015; and she thanked providers like Mara Acel-Green, Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Women’s Mental Health, and the Lynn Community Health Center who go above and beyond to help families struggling with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. And most importantly, she emphasized the hard work of volunteers like Candice Brothers, Molly Lawney, Ashley Fitzroy, Margaret Rice, Alexia Johnstone, and Joyce Miner. Postpartum Progress’s mission of “Together, Stronger,” speaks to how state and national initiatives and organizations can work to empower every new mom, across the globe.
Being a guest at the 2nd Annual Bringing PPD into the Light was an honor and a privilege, and we’d like to thank Representative Ellen Story and State Senators Joan Lovely and Bruce Tarr and their staffs for inviting Postpartum Progress to co-sponsor this amazing event. We’d also like to acknowledge the hard work of the Massachusetts State PPD Commissioners as well as the incredible co-sponsors who work tirelessly to help new families: MotherWoman, Every Mother Project, Birth To Three Family Center, and the Cape and Islands Maternal Mental Health Taskforce.
We know Massachusetts moms are reaching out for help, and we are so fortunate that there is a network of support we can turn to to make sure they get the care they deserve.