Increasing peer support for Moms Mental Health Initiative

NOW: Increasing peer support for Moms Mental Health Initiative

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- On Giving Tuesday, Moms Mental Health Initiative (MMHI) is raising money and awareness to help support hometown moms.

The number of moms battling postpartum depression and other perinatal mental health issues is increasing.

MMHI is an organization dedicated to bringing more support, and through a partnership with Little Village Café in Wauwatosa, peer support is increasing.

"I opened this space so that we could have a physical spot for caregivers of all types, moms especially, to come and gather and maybe even just to be physically near someone going through the same thing as you," said Abi Gilman, owner of Little Village Play Café.

Gillman says 75% of moms don’t feel they have enough support in the form of a village. She also says almost half of moms worry about being seen as a failure for asking for help.

"Being a parent is the only job in the world where there's no training or test, and when you struggle or aren't perfect at it, there is shame associated. Parents are expected to act like they have it all together," said Gillman.

As a mom of three herself, Gillman says the pandemic made things a little more difficult for a lot of moms and caused social isolation.

MMHI works to produce resources. Sarah Bloomquist is co-founder and executive director at Moms Mental Health Initiative.

"Conditions like postpartum cloud the mom in shame and silence…and unfortunately we know many have lost their lives to this condition, and so the peer support really helps someone know there's hope when they can't see it," said Bloomquist.

The goal is to eliminate the fear and stigma so that moms feel supported.

"I'm very excited to be going into the new year offering a peer support group, just to help bring resources and conversation," said Gillman. The peer support will include guidance from a licensed therapist. The group will meet each first Sunday of the month at 5:30 beginning in 2024.

"As a mom who's been through this, I know that finding others that have been in similar shoes is the hope that somebody needs to keep going and keep fighting," said Bloomquist.

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