Central Vermont Medical Center Partners with Good Beginnings of Central Vermont to Support Families with New Babies

Release Date: 
June 10, 2020

Climb Out of Darkness Logo

Free Resources Available, Climb Out of the Darkness® Event to Raise Awareness June 14-20

(Berlin, Vt.) – UVM Health Network - Central Vermont Medical Center is working with Good Beginnings of Central Vermont to ensure social distancing needed for safety does not exacerbate isolation commonly experienced by families with new babies.

“Even in normal times, families with new babies can face isolation and its related health risks,” said Good Beginnings Executive Director Gretchen Elias. “With COVID-19, friends and neighbors are less likely to check in, and parents are less likely to visit. Creating spaces to build that empathy connection with others is more important now than ever.”

To meet the need safely during the pandemic, Elias and her team have worked with a number of local partners to ensure the continuation of perinatal support groups via online tools.

CVMC Psychotherapist Angela Shea helps lead Baby CIRCLE Time, a free support group for pregnant or postpartum parents and caregivers, now meeting via video on Wednesdays from 12:30-1:30 pm.

“Baby CIRCLE Time offers families a chance to discuss the very normal feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression that come up when adjusting to all the changes that come with taking care of a new baby,” said Shea. “The group also shares tools and strategies that build confidence around new parenting skills.”

A collaboration between CVMC, Good Beginnings, and The Children’s Room of Waterbury, Elias sees Baby CIRCLE Time as emblematic of the kind of coordinated effort that most effectively addresses the perinatal mental health needs in the community.

“Through our partnerships, we strive to build connections between hubs of expertise, bring them together, and then spread the word about the excellent resources available for families with new babies,” said Elias.

To further raise awareness around postpartum depression and isolation, Good Beginnings will once again host Central Vermont’s Climb out of the Darkness® event during the week of June 14-20.

Held annually on or near the longest day of the year, participants walk or hike to shine light on the fact that postpartum mood and anxiety disorders are the most common complication of childbirth – and often go undiagnosed.

This year, participants will adhere to the Vermont Department of Health’s social distancing and masking guidelines as they choose their own destination to “climb,” whether on one of Central Vermont’s many trails, or simply around the neighborhood. Participants are encouraged to upload selfies to Good Beginnings’ event page on Facebook to create a team photo collage.

To learn more, donate, or join the fundraising team, visit https://climbout2020.causevox.com/team/centralvt.

Contributions go toward helping families connect to social support and mental health resources through the Good Beginnings Postpartum Angel Family Support Program and Postpartum Support International Services.

This year’s event is sponsored by CVMC, Washington County Mental Health Services, Acceleron Medical Products, Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont.