Summary of Flora’s Walk 2022


A heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in our first annual walk. With your generous support, we raised over $75,000! Your donations went to 22 charities across Canada working to provide timely access to perinatal mental health services, training for health care practitioners, and assistance to Mimi, Flora’s sister who has adopted Flora’s baby, Amber.

Here are some of the charities we were able to donate to thank to your support!

Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital Foundation, ON

The funds donated to the Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) Program at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital by the CPMHC are being used to integrate the Provincial Council for Maternal Child Health Perinatal Mental Health Care Pathway into the primary and health care community across Simcoe Muskoka. The goal of this project is to increase screening rates and improve the treatment and referral process for all women and birthing people within our region who are struggling with their mental health. This project is being overseen by the Regional Perinatal Mood Disorder Coordinator and the Perinatal Mental Health Task Force within Women and Children’s Health Network. The aim of the Network is to provide leadership, support and coordination in the planning and delivery of healthcare services for women, birthing families, and children and youth populations within Central Ontario North, inclusive of seven geographic planning areas: Alliston, Barrie, Collingwood, Midland/Penetanguishene, Muskoka, Orillia, Parry Sound, and adjoining communities.

La Maison Bleue, Montreal, QC

La Maison Bleue used the money collected from Flora’s Walk to support groups whose goal was to promote the mental health and the well-being of the mothers followed on our four sites. This could be translated as in walking or yoga groups or some experience sharing groups. For example, at La Maison Bleue – Parc-Extension there is a group called “The Chinta group”. “Chinta” is a Punjabi word for mental activity and is used to signify anxiety. Throughout the last year, some at-risk families met in a closed group each week with our team to address different issues related to anxiety and to share with other families who were living the same situation. The participants told the team that the group helped them to break the isolation and to create a network of close contacts.

Women’s Health Clinic, Winnipeg, MB

We used the funds to support the relaunching of our in person Coping with Change perinatal mental health support programming. As such, we’ve been able to run three full sessions of the group. As well, we have been supporting a Public Health nurses running a group at a site on the other side of the city. The funds you provided meant that participants received comfort bundles of self-care items (journals, tea, sugar scrubs that we made) and allowed us to prepare complete hot meals for attendees. These small acts of caring had a big positive impact, in addition to the safe space that was created for talking about experiences. Many tears were shed in these groups as folks built trust and shared confidences and learnings that let the feelings flow, and participants let us know that they felt very cared for in those moments – one wept when she received soup because she said she didn’t realize how much she needed those small kindnesses. Others felt that the group was so helpful in reducing their isolation and anxiety that they decided to sign up again for the next group. We are working on a few more things that have been supported in part by your funds, including a partnership to train facilitators in Coping with Change in the Southern Health region.

My Village Doulas, North Bay, ON

With the help of a donation from the Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative, through Flora’s Walk, My Village Doula Collective was able to provide two to three families with pregnancy and postpartum support in 2022.

Women’s Health Concerns Clinic, St. Joe’s Foundation, Hamilton, ON

The funds raised from the 2022 Flora’s Walk and directed to the Mental Health area at The Ottawa Hospital will be used to support the ORACLE/Perinatal Mental Health team’s patient needs program. These funds will provide important financial support for the ORACLE/Perinatal Mental Health team’s patient needs program and help to advance mental health support in this area in 2023.

First Steps, Saint John, NB

The money was used towards providing healthy food for our women and children. Research shows that adequate nutrition is necessary for normal brain development. Nutrition is especially important during pregnancy and infancy, which are crucial periods for the formation of the brain laying on the foundation for the development of cognitive motor and social emotional skills through childhood and adulthood.

Pacific Post Partum Support Society, BC

We are a grassroots organizations providing peer support to new parents for over 50 years. We offer support groups across BC and text and phone support across Canada. We were really happy to participate this past year in the inaugural CPMHC walk for Flora. It is through organizations like CPMHC, bringing people together that we can make a difference, by raising awareness and reducing stigma so people know where to get help and support across Canada.

We put the funds towards our telephone support program. This program handled over 7000 calls this past year, (increase from 4000 pre-pandemic). Our phones and text support are open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. PST for parents who are experiencing isolation and distress before and after the birth or adoption of a child. This program is the backbone of our services and we are grateful for the support and recognition from CPMHC and PPPSS supporters so we can continue to provide care to parents at first point of contact.

Birth Mark, Toronto, ON

Birth Mark aims to support any transitions that involve a reproductive event.  We strive to promote a deeper connection between individuals, their bodies, their children and their communities.  We aim to improve and promote perinatal health and reproductive rights through access to information and care that is inclusive,  culturally aware, and mindful of systemic oppression through continued decolonial education and adopting anti-racism and anti-oppression practices. We encourage the creation of a supportive peer and expert community through our programs. We believe this support should be at no-cost and provided to all who need it in the ways they want and deserve.

As full-spectrum doulas, we provide wraparound support to qualifying clients navigating any reproductive event, including pregnancy, birth, postpartum, pregnancy loss, and abortion. This non-medical support often includes hands-on in-person support, system navigation, education, information, and referrals. We also provide essential items clients may need during these experiences through in-kind donations and care packages.  

Clients are referred to Birth Mark through allied community partners, including medical care providers, food security programs, shelters, and many more. We are an integral part of the reproductive health care system in the GTHA.  
As a result of our programs, we have supported over 3500 individuals since 2018, provided doula support at over 1000 births, and redistributed over 1.5 million dollars in pregnancy and baby care products. Over 500 service providers refer their clients to us, and we continually modify our programs based on their feedback.  To ensure funding is directed toward community needs, our programming has filled gaps left in the reproductive healthcare system and always adapts to ensure that we are not repeating services or supports already being offered in the community. In 2019, Birth Mark Doulas supported 1 in 4 births of people experiencing homelessness, according to the Toronto Public Health Homeless Birth Count.

Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia

We were very pleased to be able to put the funds raised from Flora’s Walk towards the grant “Maternal Mental Wellness Programming” by Chebucto Family Centre though our Community Grants program. Chebucto Family Centre serves the community of Spryfield in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This grant, overseen by Chebucto Family Centre’s Prenatal and Postnatal Educator, provides multi-faceted perinatal mental health support and increases mental health outcomes for the new parents they serve. The three objectives of the “Maternal Mental Wellness Programming” grant are to:
1. “Increase overall wellbeing and maternal mental health through clinical intervention. This will be accomplished by having a clinical therapist co-facilitating a maternal mental health work group titled ‘Maternal Health: Mind and Body’. This series will include acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) techniques.”
2. “Increase maternal mental health by addressing a social determinant of health in food insecurity by providing grocery store gift cards. Food insecurity leads to increased stress while already experiencing a stressful time as a new parent. The anticipated outcome is the grocery store gift cards will allow peace of mind for families dealing with food insecurity and create more mental capacity in parents for self-care and aid in secure attachment with their children”
3. “Create a sustainable resource to carry on the space holding for maternal mental health after this project ends by training the Prenatal and Postnatal facilitator to better provide support for parents in the maternal period. The training would include prenatal yoga teacher training and lactation education training. The prenatal yoga teacher training would increase the capacity of the Prenatal and Postpartum facilitator to deliver a new program focused on physical and mental wellness as well as an additional opportunity for expectant parents to gather.”

Bridget’s Bunnies

Our Flora’s Walk donation gave us the ability to validate the grief of 25 bereaved new parents. We did this by including Megan Devine’s, “It’s Okay That You’re Not Okay” in each of the Bridget’s Bunnies comfort kits that went out in August 2022 to parents who experienced the stillbirth of their baby or death of their infant in our region and throughout Canada.

Mothercraft, Ottawa, ON

We are using the money to continue our peer support group; Mothercraft Ottawa’s Postpartum Support Drop-in which is continuing to be offered virtually every Wednesday morning from 10am -12:30. The donation we received from the CPMHC Flora’s Walk contributed to our ability to provide ongoing support to families in the Ottawa area and beyond. Thank you so much to CPMHC for supporting families in our community and helping us to offer a safe space for the transition to motherhood.

Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba

We are super grateful for the generous donations to support our perinatal mental health programs and services. Both our Rural and Westman regions were able to successfully run a six-week online Baby Blues and Better Days six-week workshop. This workshop is sponsored by Shoppers Drug Mart and is a free course for new mothers that address issues and concerns with the birth of a baby and has an emphasis on post-partum depression. Attendees learn skills and coping strategies from facilitators who have lived experience. Currently we are offering this courser four times per year virtually. The group size is kept to about 10 registrants to facilitate good conversations. Moms, partners, and babies are all welcome to attend virtually. This group will be starting up again soon both in Winnipeg, and other regions!

We were also to continue our Postpartum warm line; this is an active phone call service that runs from 9am-9pm Monday to Friday. Anyone can call and speak to someone with lived experience and knowledge in perinatal and post-natal mental health support.

We are also going to be offering a Postpartum Online Group to all of Manitoba. This will be a weekly online group, through Zoom. The virtual are free and great for anyone in Winnipeg or surrounding to use.

Life With a Baby, ON

We were grateful to be one of the recipients of a donation from Flora’s Walk. The funds, along with other donations, were used to pay a licensed therapist to do the intake, pre-post evaluations, and run a six-week HOPE Peer Support Group. These sessions are designed to help mothers who may be dealing with symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety, including low mood, irritability, crying, etc. The group is a chance for LWAB members to connect with other women and get support and education regarding postpartum mood, and strategies for coping, resources, and referrals.
This group is run by a social worker, but also a trained peer volunteer, who can share her lived experiences of parenting. These groups are free to the members so we are grateful for the support of our donors, including CPMHC who make this possible.

YWCA, St. John’s, NL

Clouds, wind and rain, in typical Newfoundland and Labrador weather, we walked together for Perinatal Mental Health. Organized by Memorial University student Jaime Green, supporters from a variety of sectors came and supported Flora’s Walk. As the youngest province with some of the highest rates of perinatal mood disorders, we have much to learn and are ready to take on the challenge of a Provincial Strategy for Perinatal Mental Health with the support of CPMHC on the national stage.

The financial support from Flora’s Walk gave the Perinatal Mental Health Alliance of NL the ability to establish the groundwork and footing to help ensure a steady path moving forward. We have been able to have our first PMHANL Board, and have developed a communications committee as a primary goal for the Alliance is awareness and education for the community at large. A strategic plan and vision of a well journey for perinatal individuals in our province has now been established and we look forward to the path ahead. The financial support from Flora’s Walk gave the Perinatal Mental Health Alliance of NL the ability to establish the groundwork and footing to help ensure a steady path moving forward. We have been able to have our first PMHANL Board, and have developed a communications committee as a primary goal for the Alliance is awareness and education for the community at large. A strategic plan and vision of a well journey for perinatal individuals in our province has now been established and we look forward to the path ahead.

How Flora’s Walk Began

One week after Flora Babakhani died by suicide due to undetected and untreated postpartum psychosis, a friend of CPMHC Co-Founder, Patricia Tomasi, called to let Patricia know that Flora’s family wanted to get the story out about Flora in order to prevent a similar situation from ever happening again. (Read Flora’s story here.)

Patricia and fellow CPMHC Co-Founder, Jaime Charlebois, spoke with Flora’s sister, Mimi Dendias about Flora and the events leading up to her tragic death. They asked Mimi how she would feel about the CPMHC leading walks across Canada in Flora’s name and raising funds to give back to local charities delivering perinatal mental health services, for scholarships for health care practitioners to receive perinatal mental health training, and as well as for Flora’s baby Amber. Mimi, pregnant and set to give birth in April, thought it was a beautiful way to honour Flora and give back to the community. (See videos here)


On February 17th, 2022, CPMHC announced that it would be holding its first national walk-a-thon fundraiser in honour of Flora. The CPMHC set the fundraising goal at $50,000 and announced that 50% of funds raised would be for local charities, 20% for training for health care practitioners, 20% for baby Amber, and 10% for CPMHC to cover admin costs.

As of May 4th, 2022, participants raised nearly $75,000. The amount continued to climb.

The CPMHC used the Raisely platform and individuals and teams began signing up and creating their own profile pages to share across their social media channels. The time frame for the fundraiser was from the date of announcement to May 4th, 2022, World Maternal Mental Health Day. Individuals and teams could either pledge to walk a certain amount of kilometres until May 4th, or plan an event with speakers and sponsors in their city on May 4th and lead a group walk on that day.

By May 4th, the CPMHC signed up 238 individuals and 47 teams across Canada. 

20 walk events were planned in cities across Canada, the majority of which took place on May 4th. The Mississauga, Ontario walk took place on May 1st, the St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador walk took place on May 7th, and the Yellowknife, Northwest Territories walk is set to take place in June.


The largest event was held in Ottawa and was carried live on Facebook.

(Scroll down to see a list of Flora’s Walks across the country).

Patricia and Jaime planned the Ottawa walk which took place on May 4th at Lansdowne Park. The rain held though it was a bit windy and chilly. Helping Jaime and Patricia organize and set up the walk were Ottawa locals and perinatal mental health advocates: 

  • Monique Moreau (CPMHC board member and Executive Director of the Happy Roots Foundation
  • Sabrina Rashidi (Psychotherapist)
  • Elyse Banham (Executive Director of the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre)
  • Beth McMillan (Lactation Consultant, Mothercraft)
  • Shannon Tessier (Photographer)
  • Meenakshi Sharma (Founder of the Lotus Movement)


The event began was held from 9 am to Noon. Info booths were set up by the Royal, the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre, Mothercraft, and Ottawa Public Health. The welcome ceremony began at 9:30 am. Speakers included:

  • Patricia and Jaime
  • Grandmother Irene Compton provided a drum song and land blessing
  • Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
  • MP Pam Damoff (Oakville North-Burlington)
  • MP Don Davies (Vancouver-Kingsway)
  • MP Heather McPherson (Edmonton-Strathcona)
  • Kate Baker, Director of Patient Care Services at the Royal
  • Ottawa Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vera Etches

Minister Bennett Statement from Public Health Agency of Canada

In addition to her remarks at the event, Minister Bennett also released a statement regarding Flora’s Walk which can be found on the Public Health Agency of Canada website:

“Today is World Maternal Mental Health Day. This is a day to raise awareness of perinatal mental illness—a topic that is very important to me as a family doctor and a parliamentarian.

This morning, I participated in Flora’s Walk. This is an event to honour the memory of Flora Babakhani, who tragically lost her life to postpartum psychosis. There are many events taking place across Canada to commemorate Flora’s life and raise awareness of perinatal health care in Canada. We encourage you to participate if you can.

Today we are especially grateful to the Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative for their impressive advocacy raising public and professional awareness to ensure that people who experience pregnancy-related mental illness have access to the resources and supports they need. By working together with provinces and territories, we will ensure that mental health care, including perinatal mental health care, is treated as a full and equal part of our health care system.

At our recent round table on perinatal mental health we heard from participants from across the country – researchers, clinicians and those with lived and living experience of perinatal mental illness. Indigenous perspectives were especially important. We learned about best practices and also the gaps that remain. Today we recognize how much more we need to do to support people experiencing perinatal mental illness. We are committed to ongoing discussions with partners and stakeholders to discuss the need for national standards to ensure the best possible perinatal mental health care wherever they live in Canada.

To all the new parents who may be struggling, please do not carry this burden alone or in silence. Getting medical help is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones. Talk to a health care provider about what you are feeling. There are safe and effective treatments for mental illness. A health care provider can find help for you based on your symptoms.

You can also reach out to Wellness Together Canada (WTC) for support. WTC is a 24/7 online portal that provides free mental health and substance use support to all Canadians, including one-on-one phone counselling sessions with a mental health professional.

I again want to thank the Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative for their ongoing work to bring awareness to maternal mental health and reduce the stigma around perinatal mental illness. Together, we can achieve our goal of improving perinatal mental health from coast to coast to coast.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

MP Davies Announcement

In his speech, MP Davies mentioned that he has served notice to the Health Committee that the NDP study he would like to move forward with is a study on women’s health and will call forward Patricia and Jaime and other women to tell their stories.

Walk & Expert Panel

The walk began at 10:15 am and followed a route around Lansdowne Park, back to the South Court in front of Aberdeen Pavilion.

The sun peeked through the clouds a few times during the walk. Jaime and Patricia led the walk with a banner and about 100 people participated in the walk. MP Pam Damoff participated in the walk along with Dr. Vera Etches and Kate Baker. The other speakers had to go back to caucus.

Upon returning from the walk, Patricia and Jaime introduced the expert panel to answer any questions about perinatal mental health. The panel included:

  • Michelle Jackson-Brown, Perinatal Mental Health Program, the Royal Ottawa
  • Elyse Banham, Executive Director, the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre
  • Dr. Jasmine Gandhi, Medical Director of Perinatal Mental Health, the Ottawa Hospital
  • Beth McMillan, Lactation Consultant, Mothercraft
  • Sabrina Rashidi, Psychotherapist
  • Meenakshi Shares, the Lotus Movement
  • Katherine Gummeson, Coordinator, Parenting Program, Family Services Ottawa

Following the panel, prize donations were raffled off and the winners of the Ottawa Senators autographed pucks, sticks, and jersey silent auction were announced. The silent auction generated over $1000 for Flora’s Walk and was coordinated by Christina Murray, Ottawa Senators player, Matt Murray’s spouse.

Meeting With the Prime Minister

Following the walk, Patricia and Jaime met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his office in the West Block on Parliament Hill. Also in attendance were Minister Bennett, Parliamentary Secretary Elisabeth Briere, and MP Damoff.

Patricia & Jaime spoke about the need for a national perinatal mental health strategy and presented the Prime Minister with a copy of CPMHC’s book — You Are Not Alone: An Anthology of True Perinatal Mental Health Stories From Conception To Postpartum.

The Prime Minister said perinatal mental health was a priority for his government and pledged his support for the cause and the work being done by CPMHC.

The Prime Minister later tweeted and shared photos on Instagram and Facebook about the meeting writing:

“Thank you Jaime and Patricia, for sharing Flora’s story with us and for speaking openly about her struggle with postpartum psychosis. The work you’re doing, through your advocacy efforts and with Flora’s Walk events across the country, will certainly make a difference. You have byword that, on this World Maternal Mental Health Day and every day, we’ll keep working to make sure Canadians can access the health services they need, when they need them.” – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, May 4th, 2022, Facebook

Statement by MP Damoff

Following their meeting with the Prime Minister, Patricia and Jaime attended Question Period ( and were able to witness the statement by MP Damoff about Flora’s Walk and World Maternal Mental Health Day:

“Mr. Speaker, while the birth of a child is a joyous time, it can also be a time when mental health challenges arise. Right now, 40% of women and 20% of men in Canada have a perinatal mental illness, and rates have skyrocketed during COVID. “Perinatal” refers to the time from conception to one year after a baby is born. Sadly, we do not talk about it and even when we do, support and mental health services may not be there.

This morning, I joined Jamie and Patricia from the Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative, alongside the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, colleagues and community members for the national fundraiser referred to as “Flora’s Walk” named after a Canadian mum who tragically lost her life to postpartum psychosis.

On this World Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day, each of us can do more. We can talk about it. We can share stories like Flora’s and support perinatal mental health.”

Motion by MP McPherson

Patricia and Jaime were also able to witness the Motion presented by MP McPherson:

“I believe I have unanimous consent for the following motion: That, given that rates have increased from one in five to one in three women for perinatal depression, and one in two women for perinatal anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada; that Black, indigenous, people of colour, people with disabilities, gender and sexual minority populations experience higher rates of perinatal mental illness; that a study by the Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative shows that 95% of health care practitioners believe perinatal mental health services in Canada are insufficient; and that advocates are calling for a national perinatal mental health strategy, the House reaffirm its decision of May 5, 2021, that the government should develop a national perinatal mental health strategy and follow other countries in recognizing the first Wednesday of May annually as world maternal mental health day.”

Though a similar motion by MP McPherson was passed unanimously on World Maternal Mental Health Day in 2021, unfortunately, this year it didn’t pass and MP McPherson tweeted out:

“Perinatal mental health is a national issue affecting women and families in EVERY province and territory. Terrible to see @BlocQuebecois MPs put partisan politics ahead of the mental health and wellness of Canadians. I will continue to amplify the incredible work by folks @canpmhc.”

Postpartum Psychosis Awareness Day

May 6th, 2022, is Postpartum Psychosis Awareness Day and the CPMHC held a webinar of panel experts including Perinatal Pscyhiatrist, Dr. Jasmine Gandhi from the Ottawa Hospital along with three postpartum psychosis survivors who share their stories of vulnerability and hope so what happened to Flora Babakhani never happens again! Watch the video here:

As we close out another amazing World Maternal Mental Health Week, join CPMHC and other like-minded organizations in our efforts to address the most severe perinatal mental health disorder – postpartum psychosis. We know awareness is crucial for saving lives, prevention of trauma, and aiding recovery.

Media Coverage

CTV Your Morning:

Global News Toronto:

Toronto Sun:

CityNews Vancouver:

CBC Radio Ottawa:

Ottawa Citizen:

The Hill Times Ottawa:

CityNews Ottawa Sam Laprade Show:

DayTime Ottawa:

Barrie Today:

Barrie Advance:

Winnipeg Free Press:

CBC News Winnipeg:

Le Reflet, Candiac, QC:


CTV News Atlantic:

Yukon News:

Walks across Canada:

Here is a list of all Flora’s Walks for Perinatal Mental Health that happened across Canada in and around May 4th. 

OTTAWA, ON Park, South Court, 9 am – Noon, (if raining, inside Aberdeen Pavilion)Elyse Banham, Monique Moreau, Sabrina Rashidi, Beth McMillan, Meenakshi Sharma, Patricia Tomasi, Jaime

TORONTO, ON at Bathurst & Harbord, Central Tech School, 4pm, a memorial walk through places that Flora went on walks with other members of the group, Christine

BARRIE, ON Place, 11:30 am – 1 pm, Candice

NIPISSING, ON College, The Village, 12 pm, Christina

HAMILTON, ON at Well Moms & Co. (409 Charlton Avenue West), Walk to nearby HAAA Grounds Park together 10 am – 11:30 am, Eleni

MISSISSAUGA, ON **Walking May 1st **’s Trail (Eglinton & Kennedy), 12-2pm, Cristine

ORO MEDONTE, ON 7 S on the Rail Trail (heading North) at 2:30 pm, Danielle

MONTREAL, QC Lake meet in front of pavilion, 10:30 am, Dr. Judy

RED DEER, AB 49 St, Noon, Brandi

SASKATOON, SK Park Saskatoon Sk, 12-1 pm, Kayla

ST. JOHN, NB Nature Park, 2 pm, Charlotte

FREDERICTON, NB Park, 5 pm, Jaimee

BURNABY, BC Lake Park & Boat Rentals, 10:30 am, Pacific Post Partum Support Society, Heather Allyn, Clare Zeschky, Kate

ST. JOHN’S, NL **Walking May 7th ** Vidi Lake, 1:30 pm, Jamie

WINNIPEG, MB Park picnic site #20 but under the covered shelter by the Nature’s Playground in case of rain, 10:45 am, Jennifer

BRANDON, MB Community Park, 201 Durum Drive, 1 pm, Amy

HALIFAX, NS Pleasant Park, Noon, Jenn Jollymore, Kelly

WHITEHORSE, YN at Main & 6th & finishing on Main & Front, Noon, Emma


YELLOWKNIFE, NWT – June, Erin Deslauriers

Picture of CPMHC