Out of the blues: P.E.I. woman sets up mental health peer support group for mothers
'Sometimes it's intense, other times it's light and funny'
A P.E.I. woman has started a new group to bring mothers together to talk about mental health issues called Out of the Blues.
"We do talk about things like post-partum depression and anxiety but it's not exclusively for moms with a diagnosis of those conditions," explained Lisa Carmody-Doiron, founder of the group.
"It's anything moms want to talk about related to their mental health."
'You think, wait a minute, I'm not alone'—Carolyn Dawe-Jenkins
The idea for the group came out of Carmody-Doiron's own experience with post-partum depression and was launched on Jan. 25, connected to Bell Let's Talk Day.
"I thought about posting my story on that particular day but I imagined posting it on Facebook and my same 300 friends on Facebook would read it again, press the little like button," said Carmody-Doiron
"I thought that would be good but maybe to extend the conversation beyond that day."
'Face to face'
So far, the group has just under 300 members on Facebook, but Lisa Carmody-Doiron said it's the face to face meetings that she's most excited about.
"It's like a lost art to meet face to face and to see on a person's face what they're feeling," said Carmody-Doiron.
"You always hear the legend of the village, people used to live all together and would be surrounded by other women, other mothers, grandmothers and now we're so isolated and that can be lonely for some people," she said.
"So it's trying to re-establish the face to face connection."
Out of the Blues holds a weekly meeting, Thursday evenings at Trinity United Church in Charlottetown, as well as a Walk and Talk session every Saturday at the gym in Stratford.
Then there are special events planned including a free yoga class, painting party and lasagna night coming up in March.
"Sometimes it's intense, other times it's light and funny, it takes its own course depending on who meets and what the issues of the week are for that person or those people," said Carmody-Doiron.
"Just getting things off your chest is another thing."
'You don't feel alone'
Carolyn Dawe-Jenkins has been a member of Out of the Blues since the group started.
"I think peer support is great because you don't feel alone," said Jenkins, who had a stillborn child 12 years ago.
"When you speak to your husband or a doctor or a professional, not all the time do they understand exactly how you're feeling," she said.
"When the group gets together and we start talking about how we're feeling or how we felt, you look around and you see people nodding or crying and you think, wait a minute, I'm not alone."
'I also feel sad'
For Carmody-Doiron, seeing the group take off gives her mixed feelings.
"I feel proud of women for speaking out but I also feel sad that there are so many women who need help and maybe aren't getting it," said Carmody-Doiron.