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Pathways: Navigating New Motherhood, Mental Health Services and Connecting with Care

By Elevate Health

How Passage2Motherhood helped extend trust to a new mother and provided her wrap-around care.

Young, pregnant and suffering from severe PTSD, depression and panic disorder, “Denise” immediately felt that the Pathways Community HUB's Passage2Motherhood program was the right fit for her needs. The trusting relationship she developed with her Pathways Care Coordinator formed quickly, and Denise welcomed the opportunity to partner with a Community Health Worker (CHW).

Pioneered by Elevate Health, the Passage2Motherhood program is a first-of-its-kind for Pierce County, providing whole-person wrap-around care for pregnant women. The program doesn’t simply support healthy pregnancy. Its CHWs partner with individuals, advocate for them, and help them to access all the services needed, whether that means finding safe, stable housing, reliable transportation to appointments or employment.

Passage2Motherhood is an innovative project launched by Elevate Health in March 2020 as part of a multifaceted initiative to improve Washington’s healthcare systems. It connects women from under-served communities with services that are often difficult to navigate and are spread across various government and nonprofit groups.

As a survivor of sex trafficking, Denise experienced severe trauma and abuse during childhood and adolescence. She had also experienced the loss of an unknown pregnancy when she was 17-years-old and over five months along. Understandably, Denise was reluctant to trust others. She and her CHW slowly and patiently built a trusting relationship. Without this trust, it’s unlikely that Denise would have opened up or been able to describe the specialized care she needed to not only live a healthier life, but thrive as a parent.

Along with prenatal care, this relationship was instrumental in connecting Denise with many services during enrollment. And while Denise knew that there were other aspects of her life that she could not rely on, she had faith in the support provided to her. Thanks to this trust, she was able to access services for chronic pain, and severe PTSD (which resulted in pseudoseizures) and anxiety disorder.. She was also connected to resources such as the Pierce County Crisis Line and National Crisis Text Line to ensure that help was available to her 24/7. This connection was vital for many reasons, especially when Denise experienced a postpartum anxiety disorder after the birth of her son. Her CHW not only screened her for the disorder, but provided support quickly and seamlessly.

Through Passage2Motherhood and her CHW, Denise delivered a healthy baby who is thriving. By the time she completed the Pathways Community HUB program, Denise had been paired with a loving service dog and was participating in therapy. She and her family are now leading healthier, happier lives.

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