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BCBSMT Awards $50,000 Grant To Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies

Aug. 15, 2018

Montana chapter to expand program creating safe and nurturing environments

Helena, MT — Thanks in large part to success Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies (HMHB) has demonstrated over the past year, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) awarded the organization a second consecutive $50,000 Healthy Kids, Healthy Families (HKHF) grant recently to foster expansion of a vital program that will benefit even more Montana families.

Research demonstrates that for children to thrive, they require safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments. With that in mind, HMHB launched the LIFTS program in three Montana communities – Helena, Missoula, and Flathead areas – in late 2017 and 2018. The program increases awareness of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs), improves screening and treatment opportunities, connects families to community support resources, and reduces stigma associated with seeking support.

Up to 25 percent of mothers and between 10 and 25 percent of fathers will experience depression or anxiety after the birth of a child, and suicide is the leading cause of death for women during the perinatal period, according to HMHB.

With the additional funding from this HKHF grant, HMHB will continue the objectives of the LIFTS work by supporting the networks already created and expanding to additional Montana communities.

HMHB will focus its future efforts in four areas:

  1. Building awareness of PMADs by hosting community events, workshops, and networking opportunities for professionals and survivors in three new communities.
  2. Coaching and assistance to build maternal mental health work groups/coalitions in three new communities.
  3. Training new partner communities, and other interested communities or groups, in improving support for families in the perinatal period.
  4. Coaching on creation of perinatal referral guides, including assistance in design and printing.

“We’re inspired by the work Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies has already done with the prior grant, and we’re incredibly confident this money will allow them to provide even more critical support systems in our communities,” said John Doran, Vice President of External Affairs and Chief of Staff at BCBSMT.

HKHF is a signature program of BCBSMT and part of an ongoing commitment to invest in and partner with nonprofit organizations that offer sustainable, measurable programs to reach children and their families in the five following areas: nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention and management, supporting safe environments, and suicide prevention. The $50,000 HKHF grant is one of four BCBSMT awards each year.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) is a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSMT is the largest and longest-standing statewide, customer-owned health insurer and full-service health benefits administrator in Montana. BCBSMT believes that Montana consumers and employers deserve the best of both worlds — access to quality, cost-effective health care and superior customer service from a company that focuses solely on members. BCBSMT has provided high-quality health insurance plans and administrative services to Montanans for nearly 77 years. BCBSMT is committed to ensuring its members — no matter where they are on the health spectrum — achieve maximum health. BCBSMT’s mission is to stand with its members in sickness and in health. BCBSMT’s website is www.bcbsmt.com.

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies

Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, The Montana Coalition, Inc. (HMHB) was founded in 1984 by a pediatrician and a group of health professionals. It was based on the national Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies model and has worked for over 30 years to improve maternal and child health in Montana. Throughout the years, HMHB has developed allied organizations such as the Montana Children's Alliance, The Montana Council for Maternal and Child Health, and more recently the Montana Early Childhood Coalition. HMHB is widely known throughout Montana as the advocacy voice for mothers and infants. HMHB was created to be the leading state-wide non-profit to improve pregnancy and early childhood outcomes and it remains in that role, as the sole non-profit with a zero (includes pregnancy) to three focus in Montana. HMHB’s website is hmhb-mt.org.