Motherhood Color Walk raises awareness about perinatal depression

An instructor teaches volunteers for Sistering CU in the Champaign Public Library in May of 2017.

Courtesy of Kate Ross

An instructor teaches volunteers for Sistering CU in the Champaign Public Library in May of 2017.

By Brooke Eberle, Interim summer editor-in-chief

To honor Maternal Mental Health Month, Sistering CU is holding a color walk to raise awareness for perinatal depression.

The walk is taking place at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 20 at the garden pavilion of Meadbrook Park in Urbana. It will last around 30 minutes, and snacks will be offered afterward along with a quick presentation about the organization. It is recommended that walkers wear white and expect to throw bowls of colored dust at each other. Mothers are also welcome to bring children to the walk.

Kate Ross, a graduate student in Social Work, is a board member of Sistering CU. She said participants are encouraged to donate to support perinatal research. 20 percent of the proceeds will go to 2020 Moms, a national nonprofit maternal mental health advocacy group, and the 80 percent will stay in the community with Sistering CU.

Sistering CU is an organization that trains volunteers and matches them to families with newborn babies. The volunteers help out for a couple hours once a week for three months.

“It turns out the most they need is help with their other children or just holding the baby so that the parent can go and rest, or just providing companionship to really defeat that isolation. We just really want to provide that social support,” Ross said.

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Karen Tabb Dina, a professor in Social Work, receives funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to raise awareness about perinatal depression through community engagement. She said that 1 in 5 are going to experience some sort of perinatal depression or mood disorder during pregnancy.

Her goal is detect symptoms early on and provide the treatment women need. By patterning with PCORI with Sistering CU, she hopes the Champaign-Urbana community will become more aware of the issue.

Sistering CU is also sponsoring of the documentary “When the Bough Breaks” at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Urbana Free Library. After the screening there will be a panel of experts who will take questions from the audience.

“It’s an introduction to the topic and it features women and families who experienced some really tragic things in their lives due to these conditions. It really just raises awareness and the fact that nobody is doing very much about it,” Ross said.

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