Healthy Start, Healthy Future was born from one new mom’s vision to create something she had struggled to find for herself as she navigated postpartum depression and anxiety–a supportive community. In 2009, Claire Kerr-Zlobin founded Healthy Start, Healthy Future as a registered charitable organization with a mission to strengthen families and communities by providing ongoing support for new and expectant parents. The organization would create programs and resources to address the challenges of adjusting to life with a baby, with a particular focus on ensuring assistance went beyond the crucial first year and fostered maternal mental wellness.
To address Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders, Healthy Start Healthy Future worked with Life With A Baby, a peer- support network offering local social events to encourage face-to-face interaction, online support forums, and multilingual parenting programs for those facing social isolation, loneliness, Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs), and the sometimes overwhelming tide of new parenthood.
Healthy Start, Healthy Future has now helped over 75,000 parents thrive in their new roles, and its programs have reduced the occurrence and effects of PMADs significantly. Life With A Baby is now North America’s largest parenting peer-support network with over 55,000 members and 122,000 web users across Canada, connecting parents and giving them the reassurance they are not alone.
The organization has emerged as a critical advocate to broker change in the recognition, perception, and stigma of maternal mental health, including to establish PMADs pre-screening for all expectant mothers. Groundbreaking partnerships with advocacy groups, hospital systems, mental healthcare practitioners and organizations, and research has allowed the development of strategic programming to increase self-efficacy and access to the care pipeline.