A hike to raise awareness of postpartum depression and other maternity-related mental illnesses drew 23 supporters and a dozen kids Sunday.
The Climb Out of the Darkness event raised $1,539 locally. Participants hiked the Animas Mountain Trail to a spot overlooking Durango.
Kelly MacNiven, who organized the local event, said it was meant to encourage mothers to get help.
“The goal with breaking down that stigma is to encourage moms to seek the help they need so they can be the mom their children need them to be,” she said.
MacNiven was living in Austin, Texas, when she was stricken with postpartum depression after giving birth to her son.
“The next day, I just didn’t feel right,” she said. “I was crying a lot. By eight weeks, I had severe insomnia, severe anxiety. I wasn’t sleeping at all. That’s when I realized I wasn’t just experiencing the ‘baby blues.’”
MacNiven said she got better with the help of medication.
It was the third annual Climb out of the Darkness event, which is organized nationally by Postpartum Progress, a nonprofit organization based in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Funds from the event will go to create new educational materials to be used by obstetricians, pediatricians and others, as well as to help educate the news media on the public-health impact of postpartum depression and related illnesses, including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and psychosis.
“It’s definitely a cause that’s near and dear to my heart,” MacNiven said. “I’ve suffered and recovered. Now that I’m doing better, I feel it’s my job to help other moms out.”