FALL 2021 GRANT ROUND 3rd RECIPIENT: HAND TO HOLD
for December 3rd, 2021
We are excited to announce our 3rd Fall 2021 Grant Round Recipient!
Thanks to our generous donor community, Hand to Hold is receiving a $5,000 grant towards supporting NICU families with parents of color!
Hand to Hold (H2H) requests funding to underwrite virtual programming to support neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) families, focusing on parents of color as they are disproportionately affected by perinatal mood disorders, prematurity and COVID-19. Black women are more than twice as likely to experience postpartum depressive symptoms as white women, and the risk for Hispanic women is almost twice as high. Women of color are also less likely to receive support due to systemic barriers to care.
Compounding these issues, Texas ranks last in the country in access to mental health services, with a limited pool of trained professionals specializing in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) in the NICU; only a few are people of color. H2H’s direct programs staff is comprised of Black, Hispanic and white NICU parents, and have lived NICU and bereavement experience.
H2H is the only Texas organization providing wrap-around mental health support and education for NICU parents while women are on bedrest, throughout their baby’s NICU stay, following discharge and in the event of infant loss. H2H’s Virtual NICU Family Support is a proven, cost-effective solution to ensuring all NICU families have access to tools, education and community support to mitigate the long-term negative effects of a NICU stay on the entire family. Support includes:
Virtual Support Groups – Trained Family Support Specialists (certified Mental Health Peer Specialists) lead weekly groups, using H2H’s proprietary curriculum, designed to support all stages of the NICU jH2H’s ney. We host affinity groups: high-risk pregnancy/antepartum, current NICU families, bereaved families, Black families, Spanish-speaking families and NICU-graduate families.
Counseling – Licensed counselors trained in PMADs, grief and loss, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy meet with parents to process their birth experiences, grieve the loss of their NICU baby and for treatment of PMADs. H2H has seen decreases in depression and anxiety in parents, and were able to strengthen positive experiences and decrease distress in past memories – in as little as 10 weeks.
Peer Mentor Program – Parents are matched with trained NICU-graduate parents with similar birth experiences. Mentors provide support virtually and in-person.
Mobile App – Parents connect with Specialists, attend educational webinars, access H2H’s resource library and connect with others to give & receive support, in real time.
Through H2H’s Virtual NICU Family Support, parents will:
- receive personalized, culturally congruent, one-on-one follow-up care;
- be knowledgeable of, and able to access, community resources and mental health support;
- feel confident in advocating for themselves and their baby(ies);
- be better equipped to take care of their medically fragile baby(ies);
- have an understanding of the emotional impact of a traumatic birth/NICU stay, awareness of their higher risk for PMADs and access to support.
According to Mental Health America, peer support improves quality of life, increases and improves engagement with services, and increases whole health and self management. Peer support care models also alleviate the burden of mental health on individuals and the healthcare system, notably for people of color. According to the Center for American Progress, “peer support providers can help overcome BIPOC community mistrust of clinical settings and providers due to traumas of historical and present individual, institutional and systemic racism.”
COVID-19 has disrupted the delivery of mental health care in a time when the need for mental health care services has surged. Luckily, telehealth has rapidly expanded access to safe, effective treatment. H2H’s virtual programming breaks through common access barriers that disproportionately affect people of color:
- Reducing financial burden – Data suggests that Black and Latino workers disproportionately face more economic and health insecurity from the pandemic than white workers due to systemic racism and less wealth. H2H’s programs are free for all NICU families, and resources can be accessed 24/7 through H2H’s app.
- Eliminating language barriers – Programs are offered in English & Spanish.
- Reducing stigma of mental health care – Statistics say that about 25% of Black Americans seek mental health care, compared to 40% of whites. H2H reduces this stigma by building more awareness about the unique challenges and heightened risks of perinatal mood disorders within NICU communities of color.
Funding will ensure all NICU parents are aware and have access to vital information about their mental health risks, are better able to manage their stress and anxiety, find connection and support through H2H’s NICU community, become more competent advocates for themselves & their baby, practice self-care, and have access to education, resources and support from staff & mentors who have been there to ensure they thrive on their NICU journey.