Heather’s Maternal Mental Health Advocacy Story

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Heather’s Maternal Mental Health Advocacy Story

Categories: Policy News

By YWCA Utah Director of Public Policy Erin Jemison


Heather Dopp’s story helped secure funding from the Utah Legislature for the first-ever state investment in maternal mental health services. Heather’s returned from Washington, D.C.’s Mom Congress, an event bringing Moms and those who support them from across the country to talk to federal policymakers about issues that matter to them.

Heather Dopp Mom Congress Maternal Mental Health Utah

Much of the success in getting maternal mental health funded by the 2019 Utah Legislature (on our first try!) was due to brave Utah mom’s visiting the Hill with us and talking with their representatives about this issue and how it has affected them and their families. One of those women was Heather Dopp from Bountiful. Heather’s story:

“Sometime around weeks 6-8 of the pregnancy, I found myself on the floor of my bathroom in the early hours of the morning unable to sleep, sobbing, and contemplating terminating the pregnancy and ending my own life. It seemed to hit me literally overnight and it hit hard. Thanks to parents, siblings, and my wonderful Midwife, I was back on my feet within a few weeks. More women need to be educated about maternal mental health, including perinatal and postpartum struggles.”

Powerful stories like Heather’s convinced legislators to partner with the YWCA and other community organizations to increase statewide capacity for helping Utah mom’s and families experiencing maternal mental health challenges. And now those stories are making their way to Washington, D.C. to make an even bigger impact! Thank you, Heather, and all the women we’ve met who are using your voices and experiences to make change. Utah women make a difference!

HEalther Dopp YWCA Utah Maternal Mental Health Utah Washington DC

Heather’s message from Mom Congress 2019:

“If you’ve been following my advocacy adventure in Washington, DC over the past few days you might be wondering what Mom Congress was all about. It’s exactly what it sounds like: Moms going to Congress to advocate for federal legislation meant to improve multiple facets of Maternal Health in the United States. Over the past few days I have been alarmed and sometimes devastated over the treatment (or lack thereof) mothers are still receiving in hospitals and doctors’ offices in our country.”

FACT: The United States spends more money on Maternal Care than any other nation in the world.

 Fact: The United States is 46th on the list of countries with the highest Maternal Mortality rate. WE ARE THE HIGHEST OF ALL DEVELOPED COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD. All while spending the most on maternal care. 

 Fact: For every one white mother’s death due to pregnancy or childbirth complications, SEVEN black women will have died of the same complications. There is a huge issue of racism behind the care mothers of color receive. 

 And I haven’t even touched on Maternal Mental Health yet. 

 Over the next few days I will be sharing a few of the bills that Mom Congress affectionately refers to as the “Momnibus”. I am committed to advocate for change in Utah and in our country at large, and I’d love to help you get involved, too. It’s time to #UseYourMomVoice!

 Together, with our voices combined, we make a difference for Utah women.

Learn more about YWCA Utah policy advocacy for all women and girls in Utah. 

#MomCongress #MakeShiftHappen #YWCAUtah