The Help Somebody Hall of Fame celebrates and recognizes good people doing good work in RVA. We encourage our readers to nominate nonprofit staff, volunteers, board members and community members who are making a positive difference locally. This month, we are recognizing Lisa Hardy, RN, who is a volunteer with Postpartum Support Virginia – a nonprofit whose mission is to help new mothers and their families overcome postpartum depression and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
Adrienne Griffen, the Founder & Executive Director of Postpartum Support Virginia shared that, “Lisa is the most thoughtful, energetic, enthusiastic, and selfless of volunteers. She gives freely of her off-duty time to be sure that moms she knows are struggling get connected with resources. She provides hope and help for new mothers and families, ensuring that moms and babies get off to a good start in life.”
Lisa leads a support group for women experiencing postpartum depression and related perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). PMADs are the number one complication of pregnancy and childbirth, affecting at least 1 in 5 new mothers. Lisa knows firsthand about PMADs as she survived postpartum depression and anxiety when her son was born 18 years ago. Lisa’s experience led her to a career in nursing (she is a nurse at Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center, delivering babies and helping women become new mothers) and eventually to find Postpartum Support Virginia to learn more about PMADs.
Lisa single-handedly has changed the way St. Francis addresses PMADs. In the last two years, Lisa has started a twice-monthly support group for women experiencing PMADs, taught other nurses how to discuss these illnesses with new mothers and how to screen for them, and provided training sessions to obstetricians and pediatricians so they can also screen new mothers. The St. Francis support group has met every two weeks without fail for 18 months, providing direct support to 25 new mothers.
Medical professionals who once were fearful of discussing mental health issues with their maternity patients now have the education, skills, and resources to address these important issues head-on. Doctors who told Lisa that this couldn’t be done now fully support these important initiatives.
Lisa gives freely and generously of her time, following up with new mothers who are struggling with anxiety or depression, supporting them in person as well as via phone, text, and email. Lisa has taken her personal experience with postpartum depression and anxiety to create a system of support for new moms and families.
Lisa’s generosity of time and talent has resulted in tangible impact, locally and across Virginia. Now, all women who deliver babies at Bon Secours St Francis Medical Center (approximately 1,800 each year) are screened for postpartum depression and related illnesses prior to discharge from the hospital. Treating postpartum depression saves money. The cost of not treating these issues is $22,000 per mother/infant pair, so screening and treating these illnesses saves Lisa’s hospital almost $9 million a year. Other hospitals in the Bon Secours Health System are following Lisa’s lead by implementing support groups and screening women, including St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond and Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News.
About the Help Somebody Hall of Fame
The Help Somebody Hall of Fame is a platform to express gratitude for a person in the community who acts selflessly to improve the lives of others. We want to share these stories in hope of inspiring more people in Greater Richmond to act with generosity. There will be random drawing each quarter from those who are honored, and two honorees will select a nonprofit of their choice to receive $1000. Read more about how to nominate someone here.