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Our Story

Help us honour Flora's Memory and raise funds for little Amber and CPMHC.

Our Story

The Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative (CPMHC) was launched in the fall of 2019. The CPMHC was founded and heralded by two “Barrie moms on a mission” – Patricia Tomasi and Jaime Charlebois.

Both Patricia and Jaime suffered from perinatal mental illness and vowed to make a difference so that future moms, dads, partners, birthing persons and families wouldn’t have to suffer again.

In attempting to navigate the health care system for help, Patricia and Jaime discovered that Canada lacked a perinatal mental health strategy and so the two combined efforts to advocate for Canada’s first strategy.

The CPMHC became an official non profit organization in May 2021 and its first ever Board of Directors were put in place in early 2022. The CPMHC also received its first grant from the Daymark Foundation in August 2021, a capacity grant to help the organization with developing a governance, strategic, and sustainability plan.

 

2022 was a momentous year for CPMHC not only structure-wise. The organization held its first walking fundraiser called Flora’s Walk, named after Flora Babakhani, a Toronto woman who died by suicide due to undetected postpartum psychosis.

Over 20 walks were held in cities across Canada, and in Ottawa the Honorable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions spoke of the importance of perinatal mental health at the walk along with MPs Pam Dam off, Don Davies, and Heather McPherson.

Following the walk, Patricia and Jaime met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his office on Parliament Hill to commemorate World Maternal Mental Health Day and talk about the need for a perinatal mental health strategy. 

 

 

The Prime Minister promised to do more for perinatal mental health and tweeted a photo of Jaime and Patricia and himself chatting in his office, doubling-down on his promise to improve timely access to perinatal mental health services as is stated on Minister Bennett’s mandate letter.

During the perinatal period, individuals and families in Canada have limited or non-existent access to quality, affordable, preventative, and proactive mental health services, including guidelines, screening, assessment, resources, support, and care. 

At least one in five Canadian families suffer from symptoms of one or more perinatal mental health disorders (PMHDs). The pandemic saw rates soar to one in three for perinatal depression and one in two for perinatal anxiety. Unfortunately, 85% of families do not receive treatment. Further, equity-seeking groups have PMHD rates at or above the national average. For example, Indigenous women are 20% more likely to experience PMHDs, 2SLGBTQIA+ have significantly higher rates of PMHDs, and Black women experience PMHDs at twice the rate of the general population.

Our strategy is to expand upon the advocacy work we began in earnest when the CPMHC was first created.

We are proud of the awareness we’ve raised since forming the CPMHC and we look forward to making lasting change and ensuring political leaders keep their promises of ensuring timely access to perinatal mental health services.