Preservation of Human Dignity (PHD), A counseling center for maternal health and well-being, began with the vision of one woman – Marion Stocker. In 1969, Marion was recuperating from her second heart attack at 40 years of age. Bedridden, she had plenty of time to read and listen to the news and heard numerous stories of women struggling with unplanned pregnancies. She felt someone needed to listen and support these women.
Marion’s decision to place a local ad in the Chicago Tribune became the catalyst to the thriving programs and services PHD provides today. She started the agency as a crisis hotline in her kitchen and calls began to pour in from women seeking someone to listen to their struggles and offer guidance. With the growing demand, she eventually recruited the help of her friends and in 1971, PHD was founded. At the time, pregnancy tests were not widely accessible as they are today. The agency would arrange for a pregnancy test at the client’s local hospital. After the results were reported, PHD assisted in providing referrals and support.
45 years later, PHD has evolved from a crisis hotline into a comprehensive maternal mental health center. PHD’s Professional Counseling services are offered by clinicians with master’s degrees in counseling and social work and address topics, including perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, such as postpartum depression, adjusting to parenthood, grief due to the loss a pregnancy or infant, and other issues that may affect pregnant and parenting individuals. PHD’s Case Management services are offered through the generous support of trained volunteers and provide monthly support, education, and referrals to women and families who are expecting or have a child under the age of three.
These programs give clients access to PHD’s Baby and Maternity Closet, which provides diapers, formula, clothes, baby food, and items for their children to help offset monthly costs of these items. PHD also offers a variety of support groups and classes for parents to meet others, share the triumphs and challenges of parenthood, and learn more about parenting and connecting with their children.
PHD’s Education Outreach department was formed in 1997 and promotes parent and youth communication through education of successful relationships, healthy sexuality, and anti-bullying. Our Educational Outreach programs include Independence Highway, Now We’re Talking, and The Friendship Project, which all focus on making healthy choices and strengthening communication. These programs reach over 6,000 students and parents each year.