Montana chapter to expand program creating safe and nurturing environments
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 Linking Infants and Families to Supports (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% of mothers and between 10-25% 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:
- Building awareness of PMADs by hosting community events, workshops, and networking opportunities for professionals and survivors in three new communities.
- Coaching and assistance to build maternal mental health work groups/coalitions in three new communities.
- Training new partner communities, and other interested communities or groups, in improving support for families in the perinatal period.
- 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:
- Physical activity
- Disease prevention and management
- Supporting safe environments
- Suicide prevention
The $50,000 HKHF grant is one of four BCBSMT awards each year.