Charities Helped Through Flora’s Walk 2022

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.