A father of five was inspired to start a foundation for women with postpartum depression—and the reason for this will break your heart.
Eric Dyches and his family were deeply affected by postpartum depression. Dyches's wife, Emily suffered from depression and anxiety for a over a year after the couple welcomed their fifth child—and tragically, it ultimately took her life.
According to PEOPLE, Emily was in the car with her father when she suffered a panic attack. She jumped out of the car right there on the interstate and was killed instantly by a truck.
We can't possibly imagine how difficult this situation was Dyches and his children, but the Utah father became inspired to do something that would help other families struggling with postpartum depression.
Dyches founded The Emily Effect, a group that raises awareness and helps other families through the issue. According to the foundation's web site, the Dyches family found a few helpful resources when looking to treat Emily's condition, but a lot of it seemed inadequate. "In short, there were many times I felt like we had exhausted every one of our options and I simply didn’t have anywhere else to turn," the site reads. "Thus, we have created this foundation and website to raise awareness and coordinate local resources for maternal mental health."
Emily's struggle to find effective treatment is something a lot of people who have been touched by postpartum depression will understand all too well—and that's why a foundation like this one is so important. Celebrities like Hayden Panettiere and Drew Barrymore have been open about their own experiences, and that sort of exposure certainly helps...but we're still not quite where we should be when it comes to addressing an issue that affects around a million people each year.
After realizing that what happened to his wife could happen to any mother, "I sat down with the kids and we decided to raise awareness about perinatal mood disorders. It's been therapeutic for all of us to help normalize the conversation so that moms experiencing problems will know that it's OK to get help," Dyches told PEOPLE. "Our goal is to help save lives and let them know there is hope and help out there. Emily wouldn't have wanted it any other way."