About Us

The Canadian Alliance for Maternal Mental Health is a national organization promoting maternal mental health.

In 2016, a network of Maternal Mental Health psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, administrators, and other advocates across Canada recognized the need for a national alliance to facilitate opportunities to increase awareness and decrease stigma of maternal mental health. The alliance aims to increase collaboration among researchers thereby sharing specialised knowledge related to screening, diagnosis and treatment with both professionals and lay people. By lobbying for increased treatment resources, ultimately the aim is to lead more women to maternal mental wellness.

As a national organisation, the Canadian Alliance for Maternal Mental Health proclaimed a national Maternal Mental Health Day to be the first Wednesday of May each year, coinciding with World Maternal Mental Health Day. The campaign works to raise awareness of maternal mental health issues so that more women will get treatment and fewer women, children, and families will suffer.

Research shows that upwards of 75% of women do not get the treatment or support they need for the mental health disorders they struggle with during pregnancy and the first postpartum year. This carries a very high, preventable, emotional cost to women, children, and families, as well as a substantial financial cost to society. The average cost to society of one untreated woman is about $150,000, with a significant proportion of this cost related to adverse effects on her child. With the solidarity of the Canadian Alliance for Maternal Mental Health we hope to make these statistics a thing of the past.

Dr. Ryan

Dr. Ryan

Co-Founder

Dr. Ryan did her medical training in Ireland and her psychiatry training at U.B.C.She has been working in the area of perinatal mental health since 1994. In 2013, she was made Medical Director of the Reproductive Mental Health Program at BC Women’s Hospital, Vancouver, BC. She is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Psychiatry at UBC

Dr. Polak

Dr. Polak

Co-Founder

Dr. Polak graduated from U of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada) medical school and completed Psychiatry Residency at Dalhousie, with additional Perinatal Psychiatry training at UBC in 2006. After 5 years in Vancouver, she moved to Ontario where she has served perinatal patients remotely while on faculty at McMaster University. In 2023, Dr. Polak started a not-for-profit to help women with high blood pressure and many other chronic health concerns to prevent and heal by way of evidence-based plant-based nutrition and other lifestyle modalities.

Laura

Laura

Laura is a woman of lived experience with postpartum depression. Once she was treated and fully recovered, she became a strong advocate of perinatal mood disorders, recognizing the gaps in our healthcare system. Laura works at an acute care hospital as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, working towards completion of an undergrad degree with hopes of becoming a pyschotherapist specializing in maternal mental health. Laura is a mum of 3 children and experienced PPD with her youngest child.

Michelle

Michelle

Michelle Miller CPA CA is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a member with CPABC. She received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from San Diego State University and her CPA designation in 1989. She has been working in the finance area since completing her education. She is currently semi-retired. She is excited to work with the Board to help support this important cause