September 26, 2021 Annual Member Appreciation Luncheon
Such a lovely opportunity to gather in person and reconnect, share stories and enjoy delicious food at The Riverhouse in Haddam, CT. We were overjoyed to present the Teresa M Twomey Service Award in Perinatal Mental Health to Debbie Shillingworth. Teresa, in addition to being a founding member and first PSI-CT president, has worked for decades advocating for perinatal mental health. Debbie embodies the spirit of this award through her work as a LCSW in Bridgeport and as our longest standing state coordinators in CT. Congratulations Debbie!
The second award presented was the Jane Honikman Volunteer Appreciation Award which went to Jen Vendetti. An award in the name of PSI’s founder, Jane Honikman, it symbolizes our appreciation for a member who has been active in the work we do and passionate about our mission. Jen has been a perinatal advocate and educator for many years, is a driving force behind the organization of perinatal providers in the state and a founding member of the Connecticut chapter of PSI. She wears more hats than one can imagine and is the glue that holds our team together. Congratulations Jen!
We also had the distinct pleasure of hearing from Cynthia Hayes as our featured speaker for the luncheon. Cynthia is a mother, doula, perinatal mental health advocate and PSI-CT member and committee member of support groups and resources and professional development. She is a member of Doulas 4 Connecticut, an advocacy group dedicated to advancing the accessibility and affordability of doula care, particularly for BIPOC and economically marginalized mothers. Cynthia is advancing the training of doulas across the state through Earth’s Natural Touch: Birth Care and Beyond with founder SciHonor Devotion. This spring, Cynthia was highlighted in the PSI CT newsletter as a Member Spotlight. She inspired attendees at the annual member luncheon, thank you Cynthia!
October 3, 2021 – Footprints on our Hearts 5k walk with Hope After Loss
In remembrance of all babies gone too soon. 10th annual event, and PSI-CT’s first time participating in both the run and as a sponsor. We hope you’ll join us next year.
July 23& 24, 2021 – Cry It Out by Molly Smith-Metzler
A comedy with dark edges, Cry It Out takes an honest look at the absurdities of being home with a baby, the power of female friend ship, the dilemma of going back to work, and the effect class has on parenthood in America. For more information and tickets please click here.
June 26, 2021 – Climb Out of the Darkness, walk for perinatal mental health
Climb Out of the Darkness is the world’s largest event raising funds and awareness for the mental health of new families operated by PSI. The Climb is a community walk and international fundraiser for survivors, providers, and members of the community to come together. To learn more click here.
Nov 7, 2020 – Member Appreciation Event
This year our Member’s event is going virtual! We will hosting the meeting via Zoom. On November 7th at 6:00pm, we will gather together to celebrate, raffle off some prizes and show our appreciation for our members. As in past years, we will be awarding the Jane Honikman award.
Sep 24, 2020- “Monopoly With God” virtual screening
We will be hosting a virtual screening and discussion of the film “Playing Monopoly with God” on Thursday September 24, 2020 from 7-9:00 pm.
June 2020 – “Climb Out of the Darkness” virtual celebration
The event is free for PSI/PSI-CT Members. Non-Members must register with a $5, $10 or $20 donation (whatever you feel you can afford to give). For details and registration, click here.
The 2020 Climb Out of The Darkness may have been virtual this year, but it was impactful as ever. Activities such as virtual affirmation rock painting parties, burden rock paintings and yoga classes were held leading up the Summer Solstice. A virtual Climb Celebration was held statewide via Zoom for 70+ participants of this year’s event. To watch our 2020 COTD video, click here.
Check out what PSI-CT Chapter has been up to lately!
PSI-CT’s Open Board Meeting was a celebration of a year of accomplishments!
So Many Accomplishments! Here are Just Some of the Highlights:
- A Few of Many Events to increase Awareness:
- Playing Monopoly With God Film Screening (Hamden)
- La Leche League Annual Conference Info Table (Rocky Hill) & Middlesex Hospital Pregnancy Fair (Middletown)
- Climb Out of the Darkness (Litchfield, W. Hartford, Vernon, Mansfield, Mystic/Groton)
- PSI/PSI-CT Services and Resources Presentation to CAPTA Meeting (Hartford)
- PMAD Community Presentation to ABC Program Staff (Middletown)
- Light for Kara 5K (Norwalk)
- Membership Events:
- Annual Membership Thank You Event (Meriden)
- Open Board Meeting (Middletown)
- Increasing Support:
- Support Group Facilitator Training (Hamden)
- 19 Support Groups throughout the State
- Quarterly Support Group Facilitator Meetings
PSI-CT’s Perinatal Support Group Facilitator Training was a Huge Success!
Quotes from attendees:
- “This was an amazing opportunity to learn about all necessary skills to support women in so many ways surrounding motherhood. I was apprehensive about becoming a facilitator since I am not a clinician or any sort of healthcare provider, but now I know that I am more than capable to support women through the challenges of motherhood.”
- “This was such a wonderful experience. I learned so much and was moved so many times. I’m excited to plant my acorn.”
- “I LOVE all the PSI trainings I have attended!”
- “This was a wonderful opportunity to expand my knowledge and step out of my comfort zone! Thank you all so much for your expertise and for sharing your experiences with me.”
Over 40 participants enjoyed the Perinatal Support Group Facilitator Training offered by PSI-CT volunteers on September 21, 2019, at the Connecticut Women’s Consortium. We discussed the basics of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) and the “soup to nuts” of facilitating a perinatal support group! One of the highlights of the morning was the “mock group” in which several participants volunteered to enact roles of a support group, followed by a group discussion of the process. This was our third annual perinatal support group facilitator training, and has always been very well reviewed; join us next year!!
August 2019: Light for Kara 5k Run / 1 Mile Walk / Kids Fun Run
On August 25th, over 3,000 people (runners, walkers, volunteers and sponsors) gathered for the Second Annual Light for Kara 5K / 1 Mile Walk / Kids Fun Run to raise awareness of Maternal Mental Health and PMAD’s. It was a beautiful and sunny day this year and Kara’s light was truly shining down on all of us. The event raised over $15,000 for PSI-CT and $15,000 for Malta House.
JUNE 2019: Climb out of Darkness!
Connecticut Climbs supported PSI-CT and their families of Connecticut. All funds went directly to our chapter to provide increased awareness of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders.
On May 30th, over 30 perinatal advocates gathered at Koter Farm’s in West Ellington, CT to increase awareness of PMADs, network and raise funds for PSI-CT! Participants enjoyed delicious ice cream, networked with other perinatal advocates and supported CT families all at once!
2019 Annual Member Appreciation Was Beyond Successful!
PSI-CT’s second annual member appreciation event was attended by about 40 members and guests who throughly enjoyed connecting with one another, listening our honorable speaker, Teresa Twomey, who was awarded PSI-CT’s Jane Honikman Award, winning fabulous raffle prizes! Vice President Jennifer Vendetti introduced honoree Teresa Twomey, who has been a tireless perinatal advocate in Virginia and Connecticut for many years and was a critical founder of PSI-CT-our first acting President who helped formulate and filed our bylaws and non-profit status with the state of Connecticut.
Here is excerpts of Jennifer’s introduction of Teresa: “a woman who has dedicated herself to the development of a safety net of
support and treatment services for mothers experiencing a Perinatal
Mood and Anxiety Disorder, particularly Postpartum Psychosis.
I first met Teresa by reaching out to her, one of two volunteer
coordinators in Connecticut in 2008. I didn’t know it at the time but
Teresa was in the midst of completing and publishing “Understanding
Postpartum Psychosis: A Temporary Madness” and when I met her,
she didn’t tell me she was authoring a book. I found Teresa’s name
on the PSI website, reached out and asked her to come and talk to a
small group about what we then only knew as “Postpartum
Depression” and we knew very little, particularly about what groups
were working nationally on the issue. Teresa came to UConn Health
and met with several of us in Nurturing Families programs. She
opened our eyes to the suffering we didn’t even know existed because
at that time, we weren’t screening and we didn’t know what questions
to ask.”Teresa was volunteering with PSI on several levels and had been a
PSI Coordinator in Virginia where she and Drew lived before coming to Connecticut. When she came to CT, there was one PSI Coordinator,Maureen McBride. The two met and worked alongside one another as the only two coordinators for a number of years.”
Teresa gave an inspiring speech about her personal experience of suffering from postpartum psychosis, the importance of our work, the growth of PSI, and of our chapter in the past two years. After her speech, President Cory Bernard surprised Teresa by presenting her with the PSI-CT Jane Honikman Award for outstanding perinatal advocacy. Following the presentation, the entire gathering enjoyed delicious food and drink, warm connections, and lovely lucky raffle prizes! NEXT YEAR, BE THERE! RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP OR JOIN TODAY!
Playing Monopoly With God
On February 22, 2019, PSI-CT and The Connecticut Women’s Consortium screened “Playing Monopoly with God”, a hilarious, moving and eye-opening story of one mom’s experience with postpartum psychosis. Over 20 attendees were able to share in this fundraising effort to raise awareness of PMADs and a great conversation after the film!
Cory Barnard and Lauren Morrow Shrage provided an interview for Eyewitness 3 News to shine a light on Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs)!
On Monday, October 29, PSI-CT collaborated with UCONN Health Center to bring Dr. Cheryl Beck for a training of perinatal specialists. Dr. Cheryl Beck graciously provided a lecture on growth after birth trauma to thirty perinatal specialists from the fields of birth support, lactation consultation, nursing, psychotherapy, genetics, parent education and advocacy.
Dr. Beck shared her research findings of themes on “post-traumatic growth” from birth trauma and vicarious trauma of providers who experience birth trauma. The lecture highlighted the psychological drive women and their providers experience to create meaning from their trauma and develop new pathways for living through their healing journey.
Dr. Beck is a Distinguished Professor in the UCONN School of Nursing where she has contributed extensively to the perinatal mental health field through her research, teaching and literary works. Dr. Beck is an advisor to PSI, and we are so grateful to Dr. Beck for helping us to fulfill PSI’s mission here in Connecticut!
by Sharon Thomason
On June 24th, 2018 PSI-CT’s Climb out of Darkness in Simsbury at Talcott Mountain was inspiring (and a smudge damp!) Over 40 perinatal advocates gathered at the trailhead and enthusiastically set off with kids running ahead and babies in carriers. Similar to our journey’s out of “the darkness” of perinatal mood and anxiety, the trail was steep at times, often slippery, and unpredictable. Yet with the support of our friends, we made it to the top of the mountain and back again happy to hike together to shine the light of awareness of the need for support for Moms and Families. Some photos from the morning:
The PSI CT Perinatal Support Group Facilitator Training Was a Great Success!
Thirty participants enjoyed a wonderful perinatal group facilitator retreat and training as they learned to lead maternal support groups and increased their knowledge of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs). Participants learned the benefits of support groups for all women in the perinatal period and specifically women struggling with Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders., with an overview of diagnostic criteria for Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders symptoms. Participants obtained tools for developing, growing and sustaining a support group and learned techniques for clinical and interpersonal challenges in group. The hands-on, experiential view of a support group was especially valued as part of this training. PSI-CT continues to strengthen our support net of services for Connecticut Families!
For questions about how you can support Connecticut Families, please contact Annie Keating Scherer, LCSW (PSI CT Support Groups Committee Chairwoman) 860-212-7066 or Psictgroups@gmail.com
A Report on the Value of Perinatal Support Groups :
Fox 61 Mommy Minute: Increased Effort in Connecticut to Change Stigma Associated with Postpartum Depression (perinatal support groups)
PSI-CT’s First Annual Celebration & Member Appreciation Event!
What an enchanted evening! About 60 attendees enjoyed an excellent buffet dinner with drinks, live music by our own Adam Scherer, and participated in raffles for 25 items and services while mingling with other perinatal advocates from across Connecticut. The highlight of the evening was our speaker, Lauren Shrage, who attended with her sister Jenna Garry and shared the story of their family’s painful loss of sister Kara Kovlakas to Postpartum Depression. The power of their story strengthened perinatal advocate attendees’ resolve to work harder to fulfill PSI-CT’s mission of increasing awareness, prevention, and treatment for perinatal wellbeing throughout Connecticut.
Sharon Thomason, our President, spoke about the power of our stories, knowledge, and collaboration to provide resilience for PSI-CT as we weave the strong web of support for the families of Connecticut. Reminding attendees of PSI-CT’s story, she celebrated our beginnings, imagined our future possibilities, and expressed gratitude for each and every contribution by members, volunteers, and board members. Perinatal advocate left celebrating our accomplishments, dreaming and resolved to collaborate for an even more powerful PSI-CT! (For more photos, go to Postpartum Support International Connecticut Chapter’s Facebook page)
PSI-CT Thanks Everyone who made this fabulous event possible!
Components of Care Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADS) Training: PSI’s Certification Program
Training Faculty: Birdie Gunyon Meyer, RN, MA | Pec Indman, EdD, MFT Cheryl Tatano Beck, DNSc, CNM, FAAN | Jeanne Watson Driscoll, PhD, PMHCNS-BC
This two-day course to learn about the assessment and treatment of perinatal mood disorders, was a huge success! Almost 120 trainees from all over Connecticut and the Northeast received excellent training and left inspired to help perinatal families!
Connecticut Women’s Expo 2017
We provided information about Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs), PSI-CT, and How YOU can make a difference!
Fundraiser at Pastrami on Wry!
October 18th, 7am-9pm
10% of purchases were donated to PSI-CT! We raised $100 and had a table at the restaurant all day with information about PSI-CT and Perinatal Anxiety and Mood Disorders (PMADs), so this event increased awareness as well! If you are interested in volunteering to help with future event like this, contact Cory Bernard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Climb Out of Darkness: June 24th
PSI-CT’s first awareness and fundraising “Climb Out of Darkness” hike on June 24th, near the summer solstice, was a huge success. This event is the largest international fundraising event for perinatal advocacy and this year, PSI-CT was proud to participate with a very moving and empowering hike at Talcott Mountain State Park. Passionate perinatal advocates from Connecticut raised over $3000 to help empower PSI and the Connecticut chapter to fulfill its mission of promoting awareness, prevention, and treatment for perinatal wellbeing throughout Connecticut!
Support Group Facilitator Training: March 2017
PSI-CT designed and presented a full day workshop training for facilitating support perinatal support groups, which was very successful! More than 60 attendees learned the basics of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs), the “nuts and bolts” of beginning a support group and safety, confidentiality, and limitations of support group considerations. Since receiving this training, more than six additional support groups were added to our “support net” across the state!