First Lady Tammy Murphy will headline TruDoulas of New Jersey’s Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day event on May 15 in Trenton, New Jersey.

The First Lady, the spouse of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, has advocated for several causes, including infant and maternal mortality and maternal and infant health through her Nurture NJ initiative.

“TruDoulas is excited to have First Lady Tammy Murphy at its first annual Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day,” said Myriam McDuffie, a co-founder of TruDoulas of New Jersey. “First Lady Murphy is a champion for maternal health by her ongoing commitment to statewide initiatives on improving maternal health.”

First Lady Murphy will start the event by offering opening remarks, which aims to help raise public awareness of maternal mental health issues. Currently, New Jersey ranks 47th in the nation for maternal deaths during childbirth.

Other speakers include Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson; Shana’e Caldwell-Cole, who is a Behavioral Health Counselor at Henry J. Austin Health Center; and Sheri Hovestad, an owner of SHB Counseling Services.

“Postpartum depression is considered taboo,” Doneisha Shephard, a co-founder of TruDoulas of New Jersey said. “Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day is an opportunity to pull back the layers of fear, guilt and shame that depression hides behind, and allows us to educate the community on how to address depression as we begin to see a world in the post-COVID-19 lens.”

TruDoulas of New Jersey was founded in 2020. The nonprofit focuses on doula services, childbirth education, monthly workshops and providing nutrition through a free pantry for expecting mothers.

In addition to the speakers, a small play will be performed dealing with postpartum depression, a major depression related to childbirth. Mental and reproductive therapists will also be present for the event.

“The cornerstone of TruDoulas is to provide continuous, multiple support and positive outcomes for mothers and their babies,” said Carmen Roman, who is a co-founder of TruDoulas of New Jersey.

In compliance with COVID-19 restrictions, the event will be held outside in the rear parking lot at 471 Parkway Ave, Trenton from 12 to 3 p.m. The event is free.

Vendors are encouraged to join by calling (609) 524-0477. To learn more about TruDoulas of New Jersey, visit its Facebook page.

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