MEET THE TEAM
Christine Cunningham (she/her), Founder and Executive Director at Perinatal Wellbeing Ontario. I also manage the Pay-What-You-Can Therapy Program. I am a Registered Social Service Worker and a Certified Perinatal Mental Health Professional.
I know what it feels like to suffer with Postpartum Anxiety and Depression because I lived through it after my 3rd child. It totally sidelined me, and I struggled to cope with my symptoms and to parent my 3 little ones. I also didn't even really know that Postpartum Anxiety was a thing because of a lack of information and resources. Luckily, I was able to recover and be well again.
That experience changed my life for the better, because I decided to go back to school and become a counsellor. After working in mental health and addictions I followed my heart to working with clients in the Perinatal period (trying to get pregnant, currently pregnant, or postpartum) in my private practice. And this led me to establishing Perinatal Wellbeing Ontario in order to provide low-cost/free therapy and peer supports to people living with mental health challenges in the Perinatal period. Connect with me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram: @perinatalwellbeing_ontario
Kelley Hassanpour (she/her), Pay-What-You-Can Group Therapy Program Coordinator and Peer Support Volunteer. I am a Registered Nurse Psychotherapist who works with the perinatal population. My background is in Neonatal Nursing but after experiencing Perinatal Anxiety myself I found myself drawn to working with parents and supporting their mental health during this big transition.
During my own experience with perinatal anxiety, I felt isolated in my experience and wished I had a safe space of support, connecting with others who were in similar experiences, support to talk about my experience, and learn tools and skills to cope. This is why I am so passionate about groups and am so happy to be involved with coordinating groups at PWO!
Anneke van den Berg (she/her), Peer Supervision Coordinator and Peer Support Volunteer at Perinatal Wellbeing Ontario. Anneke is a mother of 4, who made her home in Canada over 15 years ago. Currently, she lives in Ottawa on the unceded and never surrendered Territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation. Originally from the Netherlands, adjusting to life in Canada was difficult and lonely, but it has become home, kind of.
Mental health has been a struggle for her throughout all her pregnancies and postpartum, partly due to isolation and being an immigrant. Using these experiences to relate to others, parents specifically, has given her a sense of purpose and helped her healing process.
Since arriving in Canada, Anneke has volunteered actively with a wide variety of organizations. About 5 years ago, she started working professionally and now she works as a Public Educator and Facilitator and Parent Coach, in addition to her role at Perinatal Wellbeing Ontario. In her work, Anneke has worked primarily with immigrant populations (especially of Arab descent), young parents and vulnerable families. Anneke is passionate about serving all parents, taking into consideration that the health care system in Ontario remains systemically racist, ableist, and not inclusive. As a cis-gendered white woman, Anneke is aware of her privilege and the unlearning she needs to do in order to help facilitate change.
In her free time, Anneke enjoys spending time with her family, exploring new trails and reading many, MANY books. She dreams of speaking Arabic fluently (on the way!), world peace (like everyone else), 4-day work weeks and owning a cottage in lush woods without bugs. And no climate change.... Definitely, no climate change.
You can reach Anneke by email at email@example.com.
Nancy Di Nuzzo (she/her), Treasurer at Perinatal Wellbeing Ontario, is a Chartered Professional Accountant with over 10 years of experience working at well-established firms. She is a perinatal health advocate and has recently gotten involved with multiple non-profit organizations focusing on women’s mental health.
Nancy is a mother of two and suffered from postpartum psychosis with her first child – a traumatizing experience which she shares openly in hopes to raise awareness of perinatal mental health and to help other women know that they are not alone. Thankfully she was able to fully recover and had a much more positive experience with the birth of her second child. Nancy is now determined to support other women struggling with perinatal mental health and hopes to do her part in shifting the postpartum care landscape in Canada.
Nancy lives in Vaughan, Ontario with her husband and two little ones – she does not have a lot of free time, but when she does, she enjoys being in nature, traveling, dancing, and listening to audiobooks.
You can reach Nancy by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa Lindsay (she/her) is stepping into a new role with the Perinatal Wellbeing Ontario team as a new social media “connector”.
Melissa is more passionate about connecting with people than technology, but she hopes to utilize social media platforms for good, aiming to reach more individuals who are looking for support, collaboration, inspiration or to just learn new things about the perinatal and mental health worlds.
Melissa is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) currently practicing in Ontario. She is a mother of two little humans and has experienced her own pregnancy loss journey and perinatal mental health swings. Melissa is also familiar with the struggles that shift work families experience and the impacts schedules can have on postpartum and parenting life.
If you would like to connect with Melissa regarding the PWO social media accounts or are seeking a virtual therapist in Ontario please email her at: email@example.com
Laine Halpern Zisman, PhD (she/her), LGBTQ+ Support Coordinator at Perinatal Wellbeing Ontario. Laine is a Toronto-based queer doula who specializes in queer fertility support. She is also a queer culture and communications scholar and has published and taught on a range of topics related to queer theatre & media, activism & trauma, and critical queer feminist theory.
Laine is happy to support anyone in LGBTQ+ communities in finding resources, supports, and local community agencies from fertility planning to the postpartum period. While Laine primarily works with LGBTQ+ communities, she is also happy to answer any questions about doula care during fertility, pregnancy, or postpartum journeys. Follow her on instagram: @queerconceptions.