Lourdes Hospital in Paducah providing period starter kits for young women

PADUCAH, Ky. (KBSI) – Lourdes Hospital is working to combat period stigma for young women by providing 1000 period starter kits for young women.

Many young women lack knowledge about puberty and how to manage their menstrual cycle, and those in low-income households may struggle to purchase feminine hygiene products each month. These factors can lead young women to feel shame, fear and anxiety about their periods, directly affecting their mental health and ability to thrive at school and other social environments.

Mission Outreach Program funds provided by Mercy Health Foundation – Lourdes is allowing Lourdes Hospital to combat period stigma through a program that provides feminine hygiene products to young women and menstrual education to female students and their teachers and coaches.

The grant funded the creation of 1,000 period starter kits, which hold about three months’ worth of feminine hygiene products, including pads, pantyliners, tampons and many other toiletry items. The kits are available through Mercy Health – Paducah OB/GYN and Mercy Health – Midtown Pediatrics practices, as the providers encounter young women who need the products during their office visits. However, because that patient may not have another appointment for year or more, Mercy Health has partnered with the Family Resource and Youth Services Centers and McKinney-Vento Coordinators at Paducah Public Schools and McCracken County Public Schools for ongoing support. School officials will receive the kits for their students, as well as educational books on feminine health and materials from local resources if their students need any additional support.

The goal is to expand the program into school systems in neighboring counties in the future.

Mercy Health’s OB/GYN team also plans to host open and informational discussions about how to manage conversations about menstruation and other women’s health topics with students and teachers. These events will focus on combatting the stigma surrounding menstrual health, promoting female empowerment, and encouraging positive mental health.

Each kit contains:

  • 1 small toiletry bag (to take items to the bathroom)
  • 1 pack of 22 panty liners
  • 2 packs of 12 maxipads each
  • 10 tampons
  • 2 lip balms
  • 2 hand sanitizers
  • 10 castile soap towelettes
  • 2 travel size pack of tissues
  • 3 pairs of disposable underwear
  • 2 small deodorants
  • Flyer about the kit and Mercy Health’s OB/GYN team
  • United Way Community Resource Guide

Sherri Dicicco, Family Nurse Practitioner with Mercy OB-GYN: “You shouldn’t have to feel embarrassed, we definitely don’t want the younger generation with all the struggles they go through emotionally. To have to deal with something that is also so natural.” Dicicco goes on to say, “We really want them to feel like we understand what they’re going through and we want to empower them, not make this as a way they’re being set back, from being female and having periods. We want them to feel good. We are all in this together, and we want them to know that.”

Those with questions about the program can contact Leigh Ann Ballegeer, Director of Community Health, at laballegeer@mercy.com or 270-444-2969. Call Mercy Health Foundation Lourdes at 270-444-2387 to help financially support this program.

Categories: News