Congrats Elita Patterson on your Women Of Distinction Award Nomination
Today we celebrate Elita Patterson on her well-deserved nomination for the Regina YWCA Women of Distinction Awards in the category of Community Enhancement and Leadership. Today I wanted to share with all of you just how amazing she really is, how hard she works for women in this province and how blessed I am to work alongside her.
After experiencing postpartum depression after the birth of my second daughter in 2013, I knew I had to get involved somehow so that we could change the way women accessed care in this city. After reaching out to several local resources I was quickly connected with Elita and she welcomed me with open arms, creating such a positive space to connect, collaborate and work toward improving PPD in our area. I have since had the pleasure of working alongside Elita for the last 4 years and im so grateful to have crossed her path.
Elita has been instrumental in moving the needle forward when it comes to maternal mental health in this city. She is the co-author of the book The Smiling Mask, which was one of the first resources I found when I was in the heat of my PPD. This book was groundbreaking and led to the first ever Saskatchewan maternal mental health conferences ten years ago. This conference brought the province together and paved the way for very important research dollars being invested in creating what is now known as the MotherFirst Report which now serves as our provincial maternal mental health strategy. Saskatchewan is one of the only provinces to have something like this in place which is extremely important to ensure progress in this area is made.
Over an above this work, Elita has also forged the way to push for universal PRENATAL screening for Saskatchewan mothers. This task is not a small feat! It involves working with the provincial government along with the medical community to create a new tool that will provide early intervention and treatment. There are many moving parts but Elita’s passion for change and perseverance to see it through is changing the lives of new mothers for generations to come. Continued support for this initiative is still needed. Please feel free to sign our ongoing petition and help us help Saskatchewan Moms!
Elita has been the driving force behind organizing this years Our Mothers, Our Future Maternal Mental Health Conference which is happening this coming May in Saskatoon. This event will create the opportunity to train up to 300 care providers and community member across the province. Elita took it upon herself to host a small fundraiser with hopes to use the money towards a conference. This fundraiser led to the partnership with CHMA-SK who have shown their generous support and allowed us to plan this event on an even larger scale by brining in Postpartum Support International (PSI) to provide top of the line training. We will again host our special guest speaker, Margaret Trudeau, and it will be a full circle event as Margaret came to speak ten years ago at the first conference.
Not only did Elita welcome me to jump on board with the initiatives she was working on, she has been a true leader by providing me ongoing encouragement and support as I took on more initiatives of my own. Working to make major changes in the world of maternal mental health can feel very overwhelming. Over the past few years I’ve organized multiple events to raise awareness for postpartum depression and having Elita right there with me, pushing me to move forward, has made a huge impact on my work alone.
She is a mother herself with a full schedule of volunteering for her daughters’ school, along with work engagements and other events throughout the year. Elita is one of the hardest working, most generous people I have ever met. Even with a packed schedule, she always finds time to make sure you felt heard, that you have the resources you need or to simply provide a supportive space to talk about what’s happening in the world.
Elita is a true inspiration and I’m so proud to see her being recognized for her work over the past ten years. She is changing the way women in Regina, and across the province, access the support and treatment they need when it comes to postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. PPD is something that affects 1 in 5 new mothers every single year and her work is impacting such a significant amount of families in our community.
Congratulations Elita!!! You deserve it!