Photo by Jeannie Frey Rhodes

Women with a Cause 2024: Victoria Young

CAUSE: Postpartum Support International & Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless

As a newly married woman, Victoria Young suffered multiple miscarriages before seeking out a fertility specialist and ultimately having a healthy baby girl in 2020. She recalls the grief and devastation of her journey. While working as a therapist, she would lead a group session, return to her office to cry and then go back to work and lead another session.

Despite a healthy pregnancy and birth, Young says she still struggled with postpartum depression. “That was the most devastating part because I often asked myself, ‘This is what I wanted, and I got it. Why am I still unhappy,” she recalls.

After her own journey with fertility challenges and postpartum depression, Young says she wanted to help other mothers experiencing similar difficulties. In 2018, she became involved with Postpartum Support International (PSI), an organization working to increase awareness about the emotional changes that women experience during pregnancy and postpartum.

In 2023, Young, a licensed professional counselor, became certified in perinatal mental health. Perinatal refers to the period of time when a woman becomes pregnant and up to a year after giving birth.

Along with offering a helpline and support groups, PSI also offers professional training aimed at helping to equip frontline providers with the skills necessary to assess, treat and care for patients with perinatal mental health complications.

As a PSI mentor, Young commits to meeting with her mentorship group four times within the 8-week cohort, facilitating 90-minute meetings, and reviewing test content topics from the PSI Perinatal Mental Health Certification process. She is also guiding several clinicians who focus on perinatal and maternal mental health locally with how to obtain their certification.

“There are so many women who are in need of services but there are just not enough clinicians,” Young says. “I’ve been spending a lot of my time advocating, doing consultation work, and having people over to my house to go over the study guide for the certification test because it’s such a passion.”

Young says the desire to give back was instilled in her at an early age when she would accompany her grandmother to her job at Baton Rouge General. Some of her time was spent getting to know homeless patients. Later, Young and her husband began making toiletry bags for those in need. Currently, Young also serves on the board of the Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless.

“I love that I’ve found a way to merge two populations that I’m so passionate about and put forth efforts to display acts of kindness and support that can restore their sense of dignity, reminding them that they are seen, valued and deserving of compassion,” she says. “It can also instill a sense of hope that their circumstances can change for the better.”