Perinatal Mental Health Alliance Provider February Blog

Provider Spotlight

“As a child, I always said I wanted to deliver babies, and was told that this meant I wanted to be an OB/GYN” shares Ariana Stokes, BS, BSN, RN

Ariana is a Florida native who spent two years studying Women and Gender Studies while burrowing through the pre-med track at Duke University. In her sophomore year she encountered a Nurse Midwife on a career panel and this changed the trajectory of her career. This was when Ariana connected with the nursing and midwifery model of care. “Nurse midwifery, in its modern sense, was not something I was familiar with at all. Honestly, nursing wasn’t a field I knew much about either” Ariana recalls. 

After this introduction, Ariana transferred to the University of Florida and received her degree in Organizational Leadership and Communications prior to completing their accelerated Second-Degree Bachelor of Nursing program. After receiving her nursing degree, Ariana planned to immediately start a graduate program with a concentration in midwifery. However, following graduation she received her first nursing position at an amazingly busy and well-recognized high-risk labor and delivery unit. 

Ariana recalls, “it felt like this was what I was supposed to be doing in terms of the duties I was performing as a L&D nurse. Nursing school was an incredible experience filled with lots of new paths and stories to consider. My first L&D job was an incredibly eye-opening experience around navigating the policies and politics within a hospital setting.”  

Outside of working as a labor and delivery nurse, Ariana has a significant amount of experience as a travel nurse, working with LVN and RN students, and pre-op/PACU/OR settings. 

Even with these other experiences Ariana always seemed to find her way back to women’s health. “I loved how labor and delivery was a mix of ER, OR, maternal/child, and community health. I also love discussing the experiences women and families encounter in their various life transitions and have a passion for education and advocacy. I believe sharing stories is one of the biggest ways to encourage both.”

When working with patients Ariana provides a safe place for them to feel supported by listening to their stories, affirming their strengths, validating their concerns, and reinforcing the reasoning behind decisions. Ariana shares, “the few hours I’m with a patient are once-in-a-lifetime moments and can have an impact for a lifetime.”

Trust and communication are areas Ariana has noticed to be challenging for her BIPOC patients. She’s seen trust waver in a variety of ways from a young patient’s family not trusting the medical staff, a patient not trusting themselves, or a medical team not trusting the patient. Therefore, Ariana shares, “there’s something about reading a room and knowing how to address each person from their perspective to help lead to a positive or agreeable outcome.” 

In addition to offering emotional support and building trust, there are times Ariana becomes a translator between patients and providers. She’s typically the one explaining to a patient’s grandma and doctor that they have the same goal. Aside from being the liaison between the patient, family, and medical providers Ariana has worked with many Spanish speaking patients as well. “My Spanish isn’t perfect, however I make an effort to communicate in their language so they have one less thing to focus on and there’s a relief that enters the room. It’s extra work on my end, but that’s fine.”

As a nurse who spends her time caring for people it is important for Ariana to care for herself. As an extrovert she recharges by spending time with others. She enjoys family time, playing games (the more competitive the better), watching gymnastics and track & field, traveling, and researching topics that spark her interest. Also as a mother of two back-to-back toddlers there are times Ariana’s self care looks like extending herself grace and taking a guilt free nap or enjoying a good meal.  Ariana Stokes is one of our phenomenal providers and if you would like to connect with her further please reach out to her:



Instagram: @ItsMe_NurseAri (IG)

IG, YT, & Podcast platforms: @StokedToBeTheStokes 


Volunteer Spotlight


“After supporting my sister during her pregnancy, I realized there was so much I didn’t know about perinatal mental health – yet I worked with babies all the time. That prompted me to make changes personally and professionally – and birthed me creating self-

care and postpartum care packages, Emira’s Mamas.” 

Meet Diamond, a support coordinator who started volunteering with PSI in September 2021 because she wanted to support more parents locally and be a resource in her community in order to help parents as much as she regularly supports children. While supporting families the biggest challenge Diamond has seen outside of finding inclusive and equitable care, is finding the balance in trying to prepare for postpartum, while also allowing grace and time to ease into the parent they are meant to be. 

Diamond is an Occupational Therapist and trained in perinatal mental health she notes, “my work as an occupational therapist and knowledge of child development can be helpful for parents, and there are so many of my skills that often come into play. One big skill that stands out is therapeutic use of self. There’s so much potential in the connection and encouragement you build with help seekers and with clients.”

As Diamond supports help seekers, an ongoing win she’s seen is people reaching out for help. This can be overcoming stigmas, stereotypes, and internal struggles to find resources and support. Diamond shares, “it can take a lot to get there and I don’t take that lightly.” Additionally, as the owner of Emira’s Mamas, I’ve been able to connect with families in several stages of parenthood; sometimes in celebration and others in grief as well.

Outside of volunteering with PSI, running Emira’s Mamas, and working as an occupational therapist, Diamond is a daughter, a sister, aunt, and friend. She loves to travel and is a foodie at heart where she enjoys trying different restaurants and themed dinners.  Diamond also likes to re-watch some of her favorite shows, The Office, New Girl, and Abbott Elementary. 

Diamond, thank you for all you do for our help seekers. If you want to learn more about Diamond or to connect with her on Instagram @adimeofot , or by visiting her website