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An Opelousas Doula Spreads Awareness about Maternal Mental Health Month

Shawana Johnson, a Doula and Community Activist in Opelousas hosted a "Women's Retreat," for mothers in the wake of Maternal Mental Health Month.
Posted at 5:43 PM, May 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-15 18:43:17-04

Opelousas Doula and Community Activist Shawana Johnson is spreading awareness about Maternal Mental Health Month.

Johnson partnered with several non-profit organizations and health and wellness experts to provide a retreat for mothers to unwind and relax on Monday at the Delta Grand.

"We really tried to get the word out there about self-care, advocacy, ways that you can better serve yourself and your family," Johnson said.

Many women said they wear many hats and it's easy to get overwhelmed and neglect their own mental health.

That's why Johnson said she gathered massage therapists, nutrition experts and medical professionals to help some mothers put themselves first.

More than fifty women were able to network, participate in creative activities and educate themselves on self-care.

Denise Linton, a Chapter Leader from the National Cervical Cancer Coalition spoke to the attendees about the importance of annual pap smear exams and getting the HPV vaccine.

"No matter how uncomfortable it [pap smear] is, it's important because it really allows us to identify pre-cancerous cells before they actually become cancerous," Linton said. "When you have pre-cancerous cells, they can actually be treated and not progress to cervical cancer."

However, self-care is not limited to the physical well-being and maintenance.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than one in every, five adults are living with a mental illness in the U.S.

19-year-old Assatta Robinson said she too, suffers from the growing number of people who suffer from anxiety.

Robinson said she turns to art or cold showers to help calm herself down.

"People still think to say, 'You're still coloring at 19, like you're still coloring books?' I color books," Robinson said.

Robinson said she encourages other women to find creative ways to live healthy lifestyles.