Welcome Shannon Hennig- Director of Communication & Program Development

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My name is Shannon Hennig and I’m a research and healthcare professional with a passion for maternal mental health. I hold a Master of Arts degree from Athabasca University where I focused my research on the relationship between women and their healthcare providers during the perinatal period. I currently work in the public healthcare system in Alberta which has allowed me the opportunity to focus specifically in mental health and addictions.

I have one son who joined us in 2013 and he continues to amaze me every day with his creativity, intelligence, and compassion. My journey into motherhood was rough, very rough, and it was only after I began to heal mentally and emotionally that I realized how ill-informed I was before, during and after my pregnancy. Despite receiving routine prenatal care for my low-risk pregnancy, I wasn’t given any information or support that truly described the transformation I was about to undergo. I also battled severe perinatal depression, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder after a traumatic birth experience.

Through my own personal journey, I have come to realize that there is more work to be done in the field of maternal health and that together, both professionals and moms with lived experience, can make a huge impact on the way women access education and support.

Joining the team at Family First is a unique opportunity that I simply couldn’t refuse. The passion the team has for educating women so they’re able to make the best decisions for themselves and their families is contagious. As we grow our programs and online resources my focus is to make sure that everything we produce is grounded in peer-reviewed, scientific evidence and to ensure that women can get a hold of easy to understand information about the perinatal period. I’m also here to connect with research and healthcare professionals to help bridge the gap between theory and practice and to advocate for the voice of moms in the research process.

And because I like to stay busy I’m also Program Director of the Maternal Mental Health Research Collaborative, a patient-led, peer-driven initiative housed at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Our goal is to engage women with lived mental health experience in the research process and get them involved in setting the research agenda. We also work to connect women directly to clinical trials investigating novel treatments for illnesses like postpartum depression, anxiety and psychosis. We would love for you to get involved so please join us on our Facebook Page as we get this conversation started!

Evidence-informed care and education is key to improving birth experiences, reducing the risk of maternal mental illness and empowering women to take back and reclaim their journey as a mother. I now know that early education and planning for the arrival of a new baby is essential to easing the transition and I look forward to all the ways I can support moms and families through this remarkable time.

Shannon Hennig
Director of Communication & Program Development