Advocate Spotlight: Heather Martin

Advocate Spotlight: Heather Martin

Heather Martin is a tireless advocate for moms and families in New Hampshire and across the nation. As a medical assistant and maternal mental health coordinator at Dartmouth Health Pediatrics, Heather witnesses challenges that families, including mothers and kids, face with mental health issues. Among the groups she sees struggling are moms and members of the LGBTQ+ community, who often face high rates of depression and anxiety. Heather’s mission is clear: she wants people to know that it’s okay to reach out and get help.

Heather became passionate about maternal mental health after tragically losing her sister to maternal suicide over a decade ago. Since then, she has successfully advocated for legislation that improves maternal mental health outcomes. In 2019, she implemented a successful postpartum screening and follow-up call workflow at her pediatric practice. This year, she played a pivotal role in Governor Sununu's signing of both the proclamation of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day (the first Wednesday of May) and the proclamation of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week (May 5-11), which together spread awareness about maternal mental health in New Hampshire.

Another aspect of Heather’s advocacy centers around maternal substance use, which often co-occurs with mental health challenges. She unfortunately lost her mother due to substance use-related issues just two years ago. Her goal is to create an environment where moms feel comfortable reaching out for help, especially during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

When Heather first began advocating with New Futures, she admired New Futures’ collaborative approach to solving problems through policy change. She felt welcomed by the advocacy team and cared about New Futures’ issue areas, particularly those related to families and health care. “New Futures spreads the right message,” Heather emphasized. “I want to spread it as well, especially with all of the bills that New Futures is standing up for.”

The first time Heather testified in front of legislators at the State House was a turning point in her advocacy journey. “I didn’t think that my story would make a difference until I testified,” Heather reflected. “I knew from that point on that my story, and then my voice, could make a difference.”

Heather’s advice to anyone that wants to begin advocating is to believe that your voice matters. “If you advocate once, you’re going to want to do it again because you realize the power of your voice,” said Heather. “You have the power to change legislation. Lawmakers don’t know about some of the critical issues Granite Staters face and when you share your story with them, they can understand how important these issues are to their constituents.”

To Heather, New Futures feels like a family – a supportive network that welcomes Granite Staters into advocacy and amplifies their personal voices. “Why wouldn’t I want to be a part of that?” Heather stated.

Interested in becoming an advocate? Click here to sign up!

Your contribution to New Futures will leave a lasting impact in the Granite State!


Stay in the loop on all things health policy