SOCIAL MEDIA AMBASSADORS

Here are the CPMHC’s team of Social Media Ambassadors with amazing skills to help us all achieve a national perinatal mental health strategy! Here’s our list of mighty ambassadors. Scroll down to read their incredible bios!

Aline St-Denis

Quebec

Melissa Bennett

Newfoundland

Nicolle Nattrass

BC

Tammy Bozzard

BC

Kayla Huszar

Sask

Sage Yathon

Sask

Janelle Daku

Sask

Kristin Reinhart

Sask

Heather Marcoux

Alberta

Nicole Devlin

Alberta

Krystene Pickett

Alberta

Janessa Reimer

Alberta

Krystin Buffam

Alberta

Jennifer Hanslip

Manitoba

Sabrina Rashidi

Ontario

Alex King

Ontario

Ariel Taylor

Ontario

Chernell Bartholomew

Ontario

Leanne Ford

Ontario

Laura Koskinen

Ontario

Sarah MacDougall

Ontario

Erica Djossa

Ontario

Meenakshi Sharma

Ontario

Sadhna Persaud

Ontario

Amy Silva

Ontario

Tanya Hayles

Ontario

Candice Thomas

Ontario

Leigh Mitchell

Ontario

Amanda Gurman

Ontario

Genevieve Desrochers

Ontario

Allison Bowman

Ontario

Amanda Weiler

Ontario

Nicole Weston

Ontario

Anne Antenucci

Ontario

Christine Pinto

Ontario

Bonnie Kha

Ontario

Ashleigh Clarke

Ontario

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Tanya Hayles, Ontario

Tanya Hayles is an award-winning event planner and creative storyteller, using various mediums to evoke emotions, create change and magnify moments. She spends most of her days turning ideas into reality through rsvp + co. where event planning is not just what she does, it’s who she is. Tanya believes in the power and art of storytelling through the pen as a freelance writer, or through spoken word as a public speaker. By night, she is the founder of Black Moms Connection, an online global village of 15,000 and non-profit providing culturally relevant programs and resources to educate and empower the Black mother and her family. 

 

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Candice Thomas, Ontario

Candice Thomas has studied the human body for well over a decade. She completed her Bachelor of Applied Health Science degree in 2009, becoming a Certified Athletic Therapist working and travelling with some of Canada’s National level athletes. She went on to become a Registered Massage Therapist in 2013 and started her own business in 2014.  Through her personal journey with mental health, Candice has always been a strong advocate for Mental Health Services and helping others find the help they need. Over the years she noticed a gap in her own healthcare practice. Patients were being treated for their physical pain and never having their mental health addressed. She has turned her business, Evergreen Massage Therapy in Barrie, into a space that is bridging the gap between mental and physical pains, citing that ‘how we think, translates to how we feel’. Her goal is to bring more awareness to pre/post natal mental health care. Having two daughters of her own, Candice has firsthand experience of the gaps in mental health services for women and more importantly mothers. Change is coming. You are not alone.

Meenakshi Sharma, Ontario

Meenakshi Sharma is a South Asian mom blogger, vlogger, and radio talk show host on Rukus Avenue Radio. She speaks openly about motherhood and the challenges around balancing work and life, the importance of community, and mental health. Meenakshi is the founder of The Lotus Movement. Born and bred in Ottawa, Meenakshi has been immersed within the Ottawa community since a very young age. Growing up, it was all about the South Asian arts and culture. And this passion only grew: by organizing festivals, community events, and grassroots initiatives. Meenakshi understood that there was a need to have conversations around the social issues within the community. Having experienced her own struggles with mental health, Meenakshi very quickly realized that the Ottawa community lacks a resource or establishment for South Asian individuals. Through her research, she also realized that there is a need to work closely with other racialized communities as much of the push back and challenges are the same. Meenakshi hopes to work with other like-minded community builders and leaders to push the movement to help people within our community.

Sadhna Persaud, Ontario

Sadhna is a well-rounded healthcare professional that has a passion for advocating and supporting her patients, doula clients, and her community. She has been a practicing mental health nurse for the past nine years providing exemplary care to individuals who are suffering from complex mental health disorders within the Forensic Mental Health System. Sadhna first recognized the mental health crisis that mothers face through her professional career working with women who have been suffering from undiagnosed perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Sadhna’s desire to support women in her community led her to establishing her business Daisy Doula Birth Services (@daisydoulabirthservices) providing postpartum doula support to families with a focus on perinatal mental health. Sadhna’s intention is to educate, and empower mothers, partners, and families from all walks of life to feel comfortable and confident to advocate for their physical health and mental well being. Sadhna strongly believes that knowledge is wealth and is in the process of becoming a Fertility Support Specialist. In addition to Sadhna’s professional and education endeavours, she enjoys giving back to her community through volunteer work. She was the Lead Coordinator of Durham Region’s chapter of The Shoebox Project for Women from 2017-2020; an organization that collects and distributes gift-filled shoeboxes to local women in need. She recently also joined SOCH Mental Health as a Volunteer Workshop Facilitator with their Perinatal Mental Health team, in hopes of destigmatizing postpartum mood and anxiety disorders and holding space for individuals to seek support and share their experiences. Sadhna is looking forward to connecting and working with other like-minded individuals to drive change and support for a perinatal mental health strategy across Canada.

Erica Djossa, Ontario

Erica Djossa is a registered psychotherapist, sought-after maternal mental health specialist, and is the founder of Happy as a Mother. She has been practicing for over 10 years and is a regular media contributor. Erica helps women adjust to and manage the load of motherhood with her popular Happy as a Mother podcast, Instagram platform, and online therapy services. She is passionate about supporting moms and helping them embrace their motherhood journey. Erica is a Toronto based mother to three rambunctious young boys that can often be found sharing insights in her Instagram stories. Erica’s work has been featured in the Toronto Star, Scary Mommy, Medium, Pop Sugar, and Romper. Her graphics have been shared by celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Ashley Graham, Nia Long, Hilaria Baldwin, Christy Turlington and Adrienne Bosh.

Sabrina Rashidi, Ontario

Sabrina Rashidi is a registered social worker, wife and mother of two children. She provides counselling and psychotherapy services to children, adolescents, and adults. Sabrina has an interest in working with individuals experiencing difficulties with anxiety and depression, with a special focus in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. She has worked in mental health for the past ten years and has a private practice in Ottawa central. She uses as flexible and integrative approach to working with clients. She is trained in evidence-based approaches such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, cognitive processing therapy, collaborative and proactive solutions with Dr. Ross Greene and mindfulness. Sabrina has trained in a variety of settings such as St. Joseph’s Hospital, Children’s Centre Thunder Bay and the Psychosocial Oncology Program at the Ottawa General Hospital. She has also worked for two Family Health Teams in the Ottawa area and helped develop and implement mental health programs. She developed an interest in perinatal mental health when she became a mother and was inspired to pursue additional training through Postpartum Support International. She created an Instagram account @the.mama.therapist to provide perinatal mental health education for mothers and raise awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Her educational background includes a Masters of Social Work degree from Carleton University and a Honours Bachelor of Social Work degree from Lakehead University. She is a member in good standing with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers and the Ontario Association of Social Workers.

Chernell Bartholomew, Ontario

Chernell Bartholomew is a mom of three beautiful girls, a Ritz-Carlton Award winning Registered Massage Therapist, a Personal Trainer and a Certified Health Coach. She is your Energy Coach! Her signature program is focused on making moms with young kids discover vibrant energy and helping moms nourish their body without deprivation so they can have the confidence to build the health they want and still eat the damn cake. This is close to her heart because she has personally felt the loneliness and exhaustion of early motherhood. She believes health and wellness is not about quick fixes but small habits and Progress Not Perfection! Her clients lose weight & gain energy but most importantly they reconnect with their body & learn strategies for real long term success in health and life! Making ourselves the priority is the difference.

Kristin Reinhart, Saskatchewan & Ontario

Kristin Reinhart is a registered social worker in her own private therapy practice @kristinreinhart.lightandlotus serving perinatal women and families in Saskatchewan and
Ontario. She was born and raised in a small, rural Saskatchewan city where she currently resides with her
husband and two daughters. She developed a passion for perinatal mental health after a lived Neonatal Intensive Care experience following the birth of both of her daughters. It was through this experience she
became acutely aware of the lack of adequate and timely support and resources for women struggling in the perinatal period, especially in rural communities. Most recently, she decided to pursue advanced training through Postpartum Support International (PSI) and is committed to sharing her knowledge and personal experience to reduce stigma, isolation and shame around perinatal mental health. She also enjoys and takes great value in volunteering as a coordinator with PSI, where she offers peer support, information,
resources, referrals & a sense of hope to families in Saskatchewan. Kristin strongly believes in equitable, affordable, timely & universal access to perinatal mental health services and is invested in being an allied voice towards establishing a national perinatal mental health strategy.

Alex King, Ontario

Alex is an established marketer and strategist who spent most of her career in innovation, carrying brands from a small idea through to fruition. Lately, you can find her managing some of Canada’s biggest and most historic brands. She is passionate about bringing brands to life that have a meaningful place in consumers’ lives while making a difference in the community and the environment. Her philosophy is: consumers can use their buying power to influence the type of world they want to live in; thus, brands are responsible to listen and help create that better world. This introverted-extravert mother of two spent a year navigating postpartum depression. She desperately wanted to pull herself out of the darkness, which led her to start Petite Perle Home. An opportunity which allows Alex to flex her creative and business muscles as she handcrafts eco-friendly, sustainable candles and home décor. Most recently her work was featured internationally in House and Garden Magazine and online publications. This side venture reflects her journey and has been an outlet to increase awareness for postpartum mood disorder while rising funds for women and children in need. She is on a mission to ensure women do not feel alone, know they can speak up, and ensure families receive proper care. However, mental health is not a new topic for her; her mother, a psychiatric nurse, has influenced Alex to champion the need to eliminate barriers for and the implementation of better care plans in Canada. When Alex is not advocating for maternal mental health, running after two kids, or managing her full-time job along side Petite Perle Home, her and her husband are DIY-ing their country home in Ontario and navigating parenthood one toddler adventure at a time.

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Heather Marcoux, Alberta

Heather Marcoux is a journalist and mother based in Alberta. Now the News Editor for Motherly, she previously worked in television newsrooms throughout the Prairies. She’s produced and reported for Global, CityTV and CTV, and co-anchored CTV Morning Live Saskatoon before returning home to Alberta in 2014 to start her family. In 2015 she gave birth and experienced the lack of support and systemic barriers Canadian mothers face when seeking help for perinatal mental health challenges. Since 2017 Heather has reported extensively on maternal health, perinatal mood disorders and gender inequality. Her work is read by millions and she is proud to be among those declaring 2020 the #yearofthemother, demanding better maternal mental health support for mothers everywhere. Heather believes Canadian families deserve a national strategy for perinatal mental health because untreated perinatal mental health issues are costing families and the Canadian economy far too much.

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Leigh Mitchell, Ontario

Leigh Mitchell is a gender equality advocate, marketer and brand strategist who loves branding your brilliance. She often works with professional and entrepreneurial women, HR departments and national corporations who want clear, creative and story-based marketing and branding strategy. As the founder of Women in Biz Network, Leigh has taken her business from a handful of women to an organization of over 35,000. She curates mentorship initiatives, promotes our diversity-driven career portal, and delivers skill-building events to a variety of audiences. Throughout her career, Leigh has worked with brands such as Microsoft Canada, TELUS, TD Canada Trust, Staples Canada and Chevrolet Canada.  Leigh has been featured in the CBC News, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Canadian Living, Wall Street Journal and a speaker at numerous industry events. Leigh is a part-time runner and once walked on the top of the CN Tower. She is married with two sons and lives in Toronto, Canada. She is passionate about mental health advocacy, exploring the arts, reading, spending time in nature and practicing yoga. Leigh volunteers with a number of causes including Scouts Canada, Active for Life, and Kingsway Platform Tennis Junior Program. Leigh has held various board positions and helps to support charities/causes such as HerVolution, Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative and UGO Travel for Change. 

Laura Koskinen, Ontario

Laura Koskinen (she/her) is a Birth Doula with The Doula Group, Autism Consultant, and Mom of one from Orillia, Ontario. She is passionate about mental health and holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Having struggled with anxiety throughout her life, Laura was not surprised when she experienced postpartum anxiety after the birth of her daughter but was disappointed by the limited resources available to her and to other mothers suffering from mental health concerns postpartum. Laura is currently working towards certification as a Bereavement Doula and in the future hopes to pursue a counselling degree with a focus in Perinatal Mental Health. The Doula Group was established in Ontario in 1995 providing professionally trained Birth, Postpartum, and Bereavement Doulas who offer comprehensive information and emotional, physical, and non-clinical support to families throughout pregnancy, birth, and the first year postpartum. We work collaboratively to ensure that families receive continuous support for the course of their care. Doula support is an integral part of perinatal care. We strive to foster positive experiences through a mindful approach to pregnancy, birth, and parenting. Serving Simcoe County, York Region, Dufferin County, South Muskoka, and North Toronto.

Sarah MacDougall, Ontario

Sarah MacDougall (she/her) has been a Birth Doula with The Doula Group for over seven years and is on their Executive Team as Director of Human Resources. Additionally, Sarah has had a successful career in Healthcare Administration for over 15 years. She has enjoyed working in large teaching hospitals and small, rural, community-based hospitals. Sarah is passionate about approaching challenges with compassion, imagination, and the determination to make a difference in the lives of others. The Doula Group was established in Ontario in 1995 providing professionally trained Birth, Postpartum, and Bereavement Doulas who offer comprehensive information and emotional, physical, and non-clinical support to families throughout pregnancy, birth, and the first year postpartum. We work collaboratively to ensure that families receive continuous support for the course of their care. Doula support is an integral part of perinatal care. We strive to foster positive experiences through a mindful approach to pregnancy, birth, and parenting. Serving Simcoe County, York Region, Dufferin County, South Muskoka, and North Toronto.

Kayla Huszar, Saskatchewan

@kayla.huszar is a wife, mom (both human and fur), self-taught hobbyist photographer and artist, and my most joyous days are spent in the forrest contemplating my place in the world. AND I believe in art & creative expression as a way to communicate and heal. I am a Registered Social Worker who specializes in working with Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders using expressive art therapy. My private practice in Regina, SK was born out of my own therapeutic healing from an under diagnosed postpartum mood disorder. I am passionate about maternal mental health and believe it is preventable and treatable when properly identified.

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Ashleigh Clarke, Ontario

Ashleigh Clarke is an RN, mom of two and business owner in Barrie, Ontario who experienced a debilitating perinatal mood disorder after the birth of her daughter four years ago. The struggle she experienced and lack of early intervention and support has led her to passionately advocate for maternal mental health awareness. Ashleigh is working  towards achieving her PMH-C certification in early 2021 and plans to expand her work to support local women & families. Follow her personal (@ashleighmaeclarke) &  professional (@maternalmentalhealthnurse) pages for more.

 
 
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Nicolle Nattrass, BC

Nicolle Nattrass is a Jessie Award nominated actress (CAEA/ACTRA), playwright (PGC), counselor CAC II and instructor for Creative Journaling for Self-Care. Nicolle began keeping a journal of her experience as a new mother and those notes became an autobiographical 90-minute one-woman play that she performed in theatres since 2016. Her play, Mamahood: Bursting into Light is a witty and profoundly moving ode to motherhood. Nattrass delves into the humor of being an “older parent”, the choices of first time moms, the pain of sleep deprivation and the heartache associated with postpartum depression and opens the audience to the inner world of PTSD in relation to childbirth. She courageously shares her own journey, exploring the debilitating anxiety, shame, and intrusive thoughts that can plague a new parent and cast a shadow on the joy of this life-changing experience. She is incredibly grateful to have been so supported by organizations (staff and counselors) at Pacific Post Partum Support Society in Vancouver, BC. She has also adapted her play into a Keynote: Mamahood: A New Frontier to become a stronger advocate for maternal mental health and the need for more training for helping professionals.  In Feb. 2020, Nicolle is pleased to be sharing her Keynote as the lunchtime Presenter at the Perinatal Services BC’s 4th Biennial Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Conference in Vancouver, BC. For her professional credits and info, visit www.nicollenattrass.com

Amanda Gurman, Ontario

My name is Amanda Gurman. I am 32 years old and I live in Hamilton, Ontario. I am a full time working mom of 2 children. I have a daughter who is 2 and a son who is 4. I am very passionate about mental health as it is something I have always struggled with. I have lived experience with postpartum depression and postpartum rage. I have started a podcast called Honest as a mother. This has been my platform to share my experiences as a mom and to be real about them. I want to have the tough conversations with other moms and let them know that we all feel the same way at some point and that their feelings are normal and okay. I am very passionate about normalizing mental health when it comes to being a parent.

Leanne Ford, Ontario

Leanne Ford  @leanneford.mswrsw is a Registered Social Worker and mom to an energetic toddler from London, ON, CA. She is an avid mental health advocate, passionate about her community and human connectivity, learner, innovator and lover of nature. During the day, Leanne works at Canada’s only women’s university, enhancing and supporting mental wellness and a range of presenting concerns that arise for students during their studies. In addition, Leanne works collaboratively with allied health professionals in the community at @rebirthwellness serving women identified folks and families in reproductive, perinatal and maternal health. Her niche private counselling practice was born and fostered after she became a mom. She writes about her own experience with PMAD’s in her newly published co-authored book, Woven, which is set to prelaunch in July 2021. Leanne is honored to be working toward a national perinatal mental health strategy with a collective team of like-minded individuals. 

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Geneviève Desrochers, Ontario

Geneviève Desrochers is a postpartum doula and mom of two children who lives in Brampton, Ontario.  In 2009, one month after the birth of her first child, she was admitted to hospital and received the diagnosis of bipolar disorder of postpartum onset with psychotic features. Since then, she made it her mission to learn more about postpartum mental health in order to inform future and new parents and to offer them support if they are going through a challenging postpartum period. In 2018, she decided to follow her passion full time and left her 19-year career in education as a teacher and consultant to start her business as a certified postpartum doula.  She self-published a memoir in French and English (Another Reality: the Story of my Postpartum Bipolar Disorder) about her postpartum experience and started a bilingual YouTube channel to share her story, information about postpartum mental health and testimonials of other parents who experienced a postpartum mood and/or anxiety disorder. She is also offering in-person and online workshops to parents on postpartum mental health. Besides her YouTube channel, you can find her on her website www.transitionpostpartum.com,  Facebook page and Instagram

Ariel Taylor, Ontario

Ariel Taylor (she/her) is a Fertility Therapist from London, Ontario and is specialized in fertility, surrogacy and postpartum. Ariel holds two University degrees including a Bachelor’s of Social Work and has tailored her education around assisted reproduction and maternal mental health. This includes training to treat postpartum depression, grief counselling for miscarriage and infant loss and support for those going through infertility. Ariel is also an advocate, speaker and educator who has used her Instagram account @carried.with.love to teach and inform about surrogacy and reduce the stigma around the many ways individuals and couples grow their family. She is also an experienced 4x surrogate herself. Being heavily involved in the fertility community for the past six years, Ariel had noticed a need for more trauma-informed therapeutic support for surrogates and Intended Parents as they navigate the world of assisted reproduction. She is a Registered Social Worker and is accepting new clients for postpartum counselling, miscarriage and infant loss as well as infertility support. Her website is carriedwithlove.com. In her free time, Ariel likes to spend time with her fiancé, her daughter and her two stepdaughters as well as their golden retriever.

Melissa Bennett, Newfoundland

Melissa Bennett is a mother, wife, and advocate for self love. She grew up in a small community on the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador and currently resides in St. John’s, NL with her husband and five year old daughter, Ava. She works with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in the field of social sciences, and in her own time strives to end the stigma attached to maternal mental health. In addition, Melissa wants to make mothers aware of services available to them in postpartum, especially to those mothers living in rural Newfoundland with limited access to resources. Melissa would say that her life is divided into two parts- before motherhood and after motherhood. Before the birth of Ava, Melissa spent 10 years working with complex children and families in community based programs. She travelled, skydived, zip lined, and repelled off buildings. When she had her daughter she began her journey into motherhood much differently than she had anticipated. At six months postpartum, she was diagnosed with postpartum depression which led her to leave her career and focus on her mental health. Five years later she lives with general anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. She has built a circle of care, attends therapy regularly, and speaks openly about her lived experience in hopes that she can help other mothers know that they are not alone.

 

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Allison Bowman, Ontario

My parenting journey inspired me to do something to help other parents. I completed my MA on methods of increasing father involvement at the transition to parenting, sending text messages to fathers with ways they can support their infants, their partners and themselves. Currently I am working at Brock University in an administrative role, and as an instructor for nursing students on how to be better health educators. I volunteer with Life with a Baby, organizing events for parents of kids 0-6 to increase their social network, and to get information from community partners such as workshops on First Aid, mental health and sleep. During my MA, I was able to take many learning opportunities around knowledge mobilization – from lessons on social media, to courses on Organizational Behaviour and Knowledge Mobilization. In my free time, I like watching TV – including reruns of Friends or Paw Patrol.

 

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Amanda Weiler, Ontario

Amanda is the mother of a vivacious one-year-old and owner of Momma Blues & Beyond. She offers therapeutic photography and peer support to those on their pregnancy and parenthood journey. She has lived experience with pregnancy and postpartum depression and anxiety, and was inspired to offer these services as a result of her experience. She speaks openly on social media platforms about the realities of parenting and her journey through postpartum depression and anxiety as a way to remind us that we’re not alone. Her goal is to address the stigma attached to perinatal mental health illness through education, solidarity and by highlighting the importance of proper perinatal mental health care. She’s set to graduate from an Honours Bachelor of Social Work degree in the spring and plans to register with the Ontario Colleges of Social Workers and Social Services Workers (OCSWSSW). One thing Amanda truly believes in is the power of creative expression and sharing our truth as a path to wellness.

Krystin Buffam, Alberta

My name is Krystin Buffam, and I am currently the mother of 2 wonderful children. I have a Bachelors Degree in Nursing, and worked roughly 9 years before recently taking some time away from my career to focus on my two kids. Irecently had the privilege to work with the Calgary Health Trust to promote the Shopper’s Drug Mart Run for Women in Calgary and across Canada. I was able to share my storythrough radio and TV interviews to help bring awareness to postpartum mood disorders, and how important funding programs like the Women’s Mental Health Clinic here in Calgary are. I suffered severe postpartum anxiety and depression immediately following the birth of my son 4.5 years ago, and it was the start of my journey with the Women’s Mental Health Clinic and my own personal self-discovery. During these years I also had my daughter, in January 2019, and once again suffered from postpartum anxiety and also postpartum OCD after her birth. Through the support of my amazing husband, extended family, my parents, the Women’s Mental Health clinic, and multiple organizations and resources, I am now so proud to be able to be a voice for women’s mental health. I am a volunteer peer supporter in Calgary for women with postpartum mood disorders, as well as a vocal supporter of mental health within my circle of friends and family, and on my social media platforms. I strongly believe that Canada needs a national perinatal mental health strategy, as we know that a cohesive and comprehensive plan has shown great results in other countries. Things such as proper screening tools during pregnancy and in the postpartum period need to be developed nationally, and by raising awareness to this issue through social media, I hope that we can garner the support needed to make this happen!

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Nicole Weston, Ontario

Nicole Weston is a Self-Love Coach, trained social worker and Master Practitioner in NLP & QCP™. Nicole has been working with families for over eight years. At a cellular level, Nicole can release negative emotions and limiting beliefs so that mothers can be present, empowered and confident. She believes in redefining motherhood, letting go of generational cycles, the pressures to be perfect and the expectations to do it all. Nicole believes in redefining motherhood through conscious mothering of self first through meeting mothers where they are at and guiding them to love themselves first.

Janelle Daku, Saskatchewan

Janelle Daku is the CEO/Founder & Lead Occupational Therapist at Family Foundations Therapy. We have a holistic approach that focuses on empowerment, health education and self-advocacy. We specialize in the transition to parenthood. We help empower mothers, fathers and families to embrace their new role in parenthood to be the best possible support for their baby, family and themselves by providing tools and strategies to address anxiety, stress and feelings of being overwhelmed so that they can embrace their new identity with ease and comfort while being present for their child and family. We strive to become a support for health and well-being, a preventative support. We offer a variety of mother support services and family support from assessments, individualized therapy to group therapy. Our offers include in-home one on one, online sessions (via Zoom or other platform) or in clinic sessions. Our support can be very individualized and look different for each mother, infant and family but we also offer group services to build a community and normalize the postpartum journey. Connectedness, hope, identity, meaning and empowerment are all areas that need to be addressed during the transition to motherhood. By putting a language to the ‘new momma struggle’ we are able to embrace the inner shift that occurs, create better attachments to our babies, have better connections with our partners, family, friends and OURSELVES, which in turn we can live in calm, in happiness and be present for our baby and family. Our support can include: breastfeeding therapy, chest-feeding support, tongue tie therapy, maternal/paternal mental health, postpartum sleep support, infant sleep support, perinatal exercise support, pelvic health, return to work support, transition to motherhood support, parenthood support, attachment/bonding support, infant care, pediatric services and responsive parenting support.

 

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Aline St-Denis, Quebec

Aline est maintenant retraitée après avoir travaillé pendant 34 ans au sein du personnel administratif d’universités québécoises. En 2015 elle a découvert par hasard que la phobie spécifique qui l’avait affligée depuis le jeune âge avait un nom : la tocophobie primaire (peur de la grossesse et de l’accouchement) – et que cet état pathologique fait l’objet de recherches depuis plus d’une vingtaine d’années. Depuis lors, elle s’est donné pour mission de diffuser de l’information et de faire de la sensibilisation à cette problématique complexe et largement ignorée au Canada. Elle collabore bénévolement à titre de patiente partenaire avec une spécialiste en psychiatrie reproductive et une psychologue clinicienne. Au fil de ses recherches personnelles, elle s’est intéressée de façon plus globale à la santé mentale périnatale, constatant l’immense retard que le Canada accuse en termes de professionnels de la santé qualifiés et de services cliniques disponibles. Aline is now retired after having worked for 34 years as an administrative employee for Quebec universities. In 2015, she discovered the specific phobia that had plagued her from a young age had a name: primary tocophobia (fear of pregnancy and childbirth) – and that this pathological condition was the object of research for more than twenty years. Since then, she has made it her mission to spread information and raise awareness about this complex issue that is largely overlooked in Canada. She voluntarily collaborates as a patient partner with a specialist in reproductive psychiatry and a clinical psychologist. While doing personal research, she has developed a broader interest in perinatal mental health, noting the huge gap that Canada is experiencing in terms of qualified health care professionals and available clinical services.

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Anne Antenucci

Anne Antenucci is a social media strategist and event planner with The Salvation Army of Thunder Bay. She is also married and the mother of three boys aged 8, 5 and one. Her journey in perinatal mental health started in 2011 when she delivered her stillborn daughter, Julianna Emily, full term. What followed has been 9 years of PTSD, postpartum depression and three subsequent pregnancies. The most recent pregnancy resulting in an emergency c-section and health problems afterwards. In addition to her own mental health, her eldest son has severe autism and is non-verbal. Anne believes that social media can bring us together and start a movement. Especially during a pandemic and social distancing, we are still together sharing our stories. We can lift each other up and advocate for ourselves and each other by sharing our stories….both good and bad. She firmly believes in the words of Scarlett O’Hara, “After all, tomorrow is another day.” This quote from her favourite novel has gotten her through some of her worst times. Anne lives in Thunder Bay with her husband, three boys and dog, Yogi (the only other female member of her household). She is an active member of her community sitting on many boards and committees in order to advocate for those that cannot do it for themselves. In her free time (which is very little) Anne enjoys weight lifting, knitting, watching Real Housewives and sleeping.

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Tammy Bozzard, BC

Tammy Bozzard is very passionate about mental health. She experienced postpartum depression, anxiety and psychosis after the birth of her daughter. She currently works as a Mental Health Peer Support Worker. As a certified Postpartum Doula, she believes that mothers need support and care. She is involved with a few community mental health action networks. She believes that the conversation about maternal mental health needs to be talked about and made a priority. She lives in beautiful British Columbia with her husband and their cat named Maggie. In her spare time, she enjoys crocheting and jewelry-making. Her favorite quote is: “ You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Gandhi

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Christine Pinto, Ontario

In 2008 I suffered with Postpartum Psychosis for almost 2 years. At the time, there was no resources available, to my knowledge. I was sent to numerous drs that just had no clue how to treat me. I was put on several medications that really just made me high. Fast forward….I had 3 more beautiful children and with each of them was terrified of going thru it again. Thankfully I didn’t. What was different this time? I had the knowledge I needed to see the signs and get help at the first sign of any depression. Knowledge = Power. In the past I have had many different jobs, mostly in Corporate. The one job that I did have that I believe would greatly help for this position ( besides lived experience) was working as Supervisor for a homeless initiative with the city of Toronto. I held that position for 4 years. Our goal was to advocate for those living on the streets dealing with homelessness and in most cases, mental health and addiction. As I enter my 40’s this year, one of my goals is to committing and advocating for change in Perinatal Mental Health. One day, I would love to get involved in Peer Counselling.

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Bonnie Kha, Ontario

My name is Bonnie and I’m a proud first-time mother of my nine-month-old daughter. My birth story was neither the worst not the best, but it definitely gave me a reason to speak up about maternal mental health after understanding the range of feelings and emotions you go through immediately after birth; something you can try to prepare for during your entire pregnancy, but will not understand the extent of until you’ve personally gone through it yourself. Then I see friends who have gone through miscarriages, fertility issues, infant illnesses, and everything in between, and I ask myself the amount of mental strength they have because I myself would not know how I would be able to handle. When I dove into the subject a bit more, I realized there was no real system and not much of a socially acceptable decorum to bring this subject into light. Many people still don’t want to talk about the subjects heavily affecting mother’s mental health, including mothers, and it’s time to make a stand. So here I am, making a stand with a group of people who are passionate about this fight. Let’s do this!

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Nicole Devlin, Alberta

My name is Nicole Devlin, I am 32 years old and have suffered and survived postpartum depression and anxiety. I currently reside in Calgary, Alberta with my son Brady who is three, my husband Kelly and my two fur kids Lady and Levi. I work an office job – I am a fierce advocate for perinatal mental health and helping the women who suffer. I am a trained peer support worker for women and families suffering with perinatal mood disorders and currently am being trained to support women through pregnancy loss. My hope through this role as Social Media Ambassador is to raise much needed awareness for perinatal mental health and inform our federal government about the much needed change and expanded services that support mothers who are experiencing mental health challenges. We too are being born as new moms and we need to feel supported, to reduce shame, and to access effective and efficient services when we need them most.

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Krystene Pickett, Alberta

My name is Krystene Pickett. I live in Strathmore, Alberta.  I have 3 beautiful children and an amazing supportive husband. I have survived postpartum depression and anxiety with two out of three of my children. I have always been an advocate for mental health and in the last few years have opened up myself with it to share the struggles with others so they feel less alone. I truly believe there needs to be more ways to help out and I want to be a part of the solution. I think that mental health is really important and the key is having support in the health system so that as woman we can be honest and not feel judged. So much of the stigma is from being afraid to speak or feeling alone. We need to end the stigma, we need to make a stand because there is so many people out there who would benefit from better support systems.  My hope in being a social media ambassador is to be a part of that shift for these women who are suffering in silence to have a voice and finally be heard. In 2008 I suffered from postpartum psychosis for almost two years. At the time, there were no resources available, to my knowledge. I was sent to numerous doctors that just had no clue how to treat me. I was put on several medications that really just made me high.  Fast forward….I had three more beautiful children and with each of them was terrified of going through it again. Thankfully I didn’t. What was different this time? I had the knowledge I needed to see the signs and get help at the first sign of any depression. Knowledge = Power. In the past I have had many different jobs, mostly in corporate. The one job that I did have that I believe would greatly help the committee ( besides lived experience) was working as supervisor for a homeless initiative with the City of Toronto. I held that position for four years. Our goal was to advocate for those living on the streets dealing with homelessness and in most cases, mental health and addiction. As I enter my 40s this year, one of my goals is to commit and advocate for change in perinatal mental health. One day, I would love to get involved in peer counselling.

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Janessa Reimer, Claresholm, Alberta

My son Arden is 13 months old. After he was born, I struggled with severe depression and some anxiety. I wasn’t able to connect with my son or enjoy each stage he was in till he turned ten months old. It has been a long road with lots of ups and downs, thoughts of not wanting to live or that I shouldn’t have become a mom. But I am alive and happy and I am so passionate about helping other moms. I don’t want people to suffer as I have so I started a postpartum support group in my small town, which has gone over really well and I have some more plans to help the moms and moms-to-be in my community in the future. My husband, Dustin, and I moved to Claresholm, Alberta, five years ago. We wanted to be closer to the mountains that we had fallen in love with. We started hiking most weekends in the summer. Before we knew it, we started mountain biking and just doing all things in the mountains. Its become a lifestyle for us. I love being challenged physically and mentally. We have done a lot of challenging hikes and mountain bike riding and each time I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. It is important for me to push past my fears and insecurities because I believe it makes me a stronger person. My family doctor sent me this wonderful description of my postpartum journey. “Think of this as a big tough hike. There are hard parts but we are learning and growing and figuring out the best route for you. The switch backs can definitely seem to be a pain. However, we will get you to the summit where you can savour your success and enjoy the view”.

Jennifer Hanslip, Manitoba

Jennifer Hanslip is a postpartum doula, business owner, and mother of three girls in Winnipeg, Manitoba. After experiencing a traumatic birth with her first child and being diagnosed with postpartum depression just 15 days after giving birth, she was shocked that this happened to her after her “textbook-perfect” pregnancy. As a survivor of postpartum depression, she has made it her mission to ensure that others are more informed about perinatal mood & anxiety disorders and how they can access help. Over the years, she has started an informal PPD support group for moms and has been in charge of postpartum programming for a local mental health organization. For the last few years, she has taken great pride in volunteering with Postpartum Support International, where she offers peer support, information, resources, referrals, and most importantly, hope to new and expecting families in Manitoba that are struggling. In her latest role as a postpartum doula, she truly feels that she has found her calling.

Sage Yathon, Saskatchewan

Sage Yathon is a mental health advocate in Saskatchewan. She lives with her husband and their two children in Regina. She first experienced her perinatal mood disorder when her daughter was born in 2017. She has struggled with depression and anxiety on and off since then, especially after the birth of her son in 2019.
She advocates for honesty and transparency in motherhood on her personal Instagram page @sage.s.y, and works as a health support person through her business page @sagehealthsupport. She works out of her home, usually stuck between two small children, with a cold coffee in hand. Twice a week, she hosts a peer-led support group for mothers, one in person and one virtual.

Amy Silva, Ontario

Amy Silva is a wife and mother of three from London, Ontario. Amy is an emergency department clerk and also owns her own business where she works as a full spectrum doula, lactation educator, infant and pregnancy loss support person and yoga teacher. Amy has a personal history of prenatal and postpartum anxiety. Her family has a strong mental health history which has led Amy to be an advocate for mental health awareness as well as reproductive justice.  Amy recently created her peer support group and podcast Where Healing Happens to support families. Sharing her story as well as others to hold space, help break stigmas and create a community where people feel understood.