Postpartum Progress News
Postpartum Progress Launches Spanish, Chinese & Black/African Diaspora New Mom Mental Health Checklists
September 2016 — Postpartum Progress has launched new versions of its New Mom Mental Health Checklist, a checklist used by moms and healthcare providers to help start a conversation about how the mothers are feeling, what symptoms they might be experiencing and what risk factors they have. Therapists and hospitals all over the country are adopting it, and they have downloaded it thousands of times.
Our newest versions include the checklist for Black and African Diaspora women, and two new translated versions in Spanish and in Simplified Chinese. The translations were made with the support of a translation service recommended by the Office of Minority Health to ensure they were done according to the national standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS).
Postpartum Progress Approved for a $15k Award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
August 2016 — Postpartum Progress has been awarded a $14,995 Pipeline to Proposal – Tier 1 award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). The contract is for a project entitled “Into the Light: Using Health Technology to Develop a Mother/Family Centered Peer Support Network.”
PCORI is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions. Today PCORI announced it has awarded funds totaling $688,000 for 46 projects through its “Pipeline to Proposal” Awards program. Postpartum Progress is one of only 9 national projects selected, with the remaining being local or regional in scope. These projects were approved for Tier I awards of up to $15,000 each to develop the capacity for patients, caregivers, and other stakeholders to participate in patient-centered clinical comparative effectiveness (CER) research.
“The Pipeline to Proposal Awards program is a manifestation of PCORI’s commitment to the meaningful involvement of patients, caregivers, clinicians, and other stakeholders in all our research endeavors,” said Jean Slutsky, PA, MSPH, PCORI’s Chief Engagement and Dissemination Officer. “It provides support to those who may not otherwise have an opportunity to contribute to the field of comparative effectiveness research. We’re pleased to follow the awardees’ progress as they develop partnerships and begin to form research questions.”
This grant adds to Postpartum Progress’ growing program area of patient-centered, patient-driven research. This program area was launched in 2016 with the organization’s partnership on PPD ACT, the world’s largest genetic study of PPD, an ongoing research project.
4th Annual Climb Out of the Darkness® Reaches New Heights
June 2016 — Postpartum Progress’ 4th annual Climb Out of the Darkness® was held on Saturday, June 18, in seven different countries to raise awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and raise funds for the nonprofit. The event raised $350,000, a 45% increase over the previous year’s total, and attracted more than 4,200 registered participants, a 68% increase over 2015. Media coverage of the event, which included both national and local media stories, such as this video on BuzzFeed, reached 153 million total impressions. Also, thanks to the very hard work of Climb leaders and fundraisers, Postpartum Progress was able to make grants totaling nearly $20,000 to programs directly helping underserved women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. The programs include, but are not limited to:
The Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center in Ojai, California, which will be using the funds to help provide free in-person therapy to moms with maternal mental illness.
Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, which will be using the funds to cover cab vouchers and parking passes so low-income women can participate in its Perinatal Depression Outreach Program services. This is the only program providing free services to high-risk mothers in the Baltimore area.
First Connections in Needham, Massachusetts, which will be using the funds to expand outreach and provide support to additional communities, including those at Hanscom Air Force Base.
Heartsounds in Tucson, Arizona, which provides free home doula support to low-income mothers with infants.
Moms Bloom in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which will be expanding its Flourishing Families program to Lansing and training volunteers how to support local teen moms as well as African-American moms who are part of the Strong Start, Healthy Start Program.
Photo: Team San Diego 2016
Postpartum Progress Wins 2016 Iris Award for Social Campaign of the Year
April 2016 — Postpartum Progress won the 2016 Social Campaign of the Year at the Iris Awards, an annual recognition of individual achievements, collective creativity, and impactful work in parent blogging and social media. The Iris Awards were held on Friday, May 1 at the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, CA. The organization won for its #meditateonthis social media campaign to combat stigma. Fellow nominees in the category were the social campaigns #LoveYourCurls by Dove, #TalkEarly by Responsibility.org, #ParentingUnfiltered by Plum Organics, #WomenWhoDo by Vanity Fair and #HowWeFamily by Tylenol.
Postpartum Progress was also nominated in the categories of Game Changer of the Year, Philanthropic Work of the Year and Most Informative Content.
Photo: (l to r) Kristen Chase, Podcast of the Year; Jill Williams Krause, Blog of the Year; Katherine Stone, Social Campaign of the Year; Liz Gumbinner, Podcast of the Year, photo by Michael Cummings, Mom 2.0 Summit.
Postpartum Progress Partners with UNC, Apple on Largest Genetic Study of PPD
March 2016 — Researchers from the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine and the international Postpartum Depression: Action Towards Causes and Treatment (PACT) Consortium unveiled a free iPhone app to engage women in a genetics research study about postpartum depression (PPD). The study aims to help researchers understand why some women suffer from PPD and others do not – critical knowledge to help researchers find more effective treatments.
The ResearchKit app, called PPD ACT™, surveys women to identify those who have had symptoms of PPD. The app also will invite certain women based on survey responses to provide DNA samples so that researchers can study the genes of those impacted by PPD. ResearchKit is an open-source framework developed by Apple that allows researchers to create app-based studies with global reach. The PPD ACT app is available for iPhone users as a free download from the App Store in the U.S. and Australia. A U.K. version is coming soon. International partners include Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland and the National Centre for Mental Health at Cardiff University.
UNC School of Medicine faculty members Samantha Meltzer-Brody, MD, MPH, director of the Perinatal Psychiatry Program at the UNC Center for Women’s Mood Disorders, and Patrick Sullivan, MD, director of the UNC Center for Psychiatric Genomics, led efforts to design the study and develop the app with support from the UNC Health Care and UNC School of Medicine Center for Innovation.
“Between 12 and 23 percent of women will experience symptoms of depression after pregnancy, and this app will help us better understand why,” Dr. Meltzer-Brody said. “We hope that women will share their experiences so that we can more effectively diagnose and treat PPD in the future.”
The app informs women of the purpose of the research, asks their consent to participate and collects information about their experiences with PPD. A survey prompts women to answer questions about childbirth, mood, anxiety levels and other symptoms associated with pregnancy and delivery. Based on responses, some women will be invited to give a saliva sample using a “spit kit,” which will be provided through the mail to U.S. participants by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
“This app and its self-administered testing model will provide us with access to a large amount of data among women across the globe while stretching our research dollars,” Dr. Sullivan said. “This will help us to validate and cross-check results, allowing us to draw more precise conclusions.”
Postpartum Progress®, an international nonprofit organization that supports women with maternal mental illness, is a proud partner of PPD ACT and is committed to spreading the word about the study, particularly among its community of Warrior Moms™, mothers who have experienced perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
“Postpartum Progress is thrilled to partner with UNC on this landmark research,” said Katherine Stone, founder of Postpartum Progress. “Our hope is that findings from this study will prevent future generations from suffering from these devastating disorders.”
The app is intended for women 18 years or older who have previously given birth and believe they may have experienced or are currently experiencing signs or symptoms of PPD, such as anxiety, depression, guilt, irritability or extreme sadness. For more information about PPD and common symptoms, visit pactforthecure.com.
Postpartum Progress Launches #meditateonthis Campaign to Combat Stigma
January 2016 – Postpartum Progress, in partnership with Avital Norman Nathman, editor of The Good Mother Myth, quickly launched a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #meditateonthis in response to stigmatizing statements about screening and treatment for postpartum depression made by a bestselling author with a massive following. The organic campaign, created to provide a virtual pushback to stigma and amplify the voices of thousands of women who’ve had perinatal mood and anxiety disorder, ended up generating 8,286 tweets from 1,344 different contributors, with 32,036,141 million Twitter timeline deliveries and a reach of 3,640,283 million people. It was also covered by the following parenting and mental health outlets:
- Psych Central
- Huffington Post
- Disney’s Babble
- Yummy Mummy Club (Canada)
- Essential Baby (Australia)
- Rage Against the Minivan
Working Mother Announces 2016 Social Media Moms Awards
Postpartum Progress' 2015 Year in Review
Parenting Websites Recommend Postpartum Progress for Giving Tuesday
Postpartum Progress Awarded hope & grace fund Grant
October 2015 – Postpartum Progress is thrilled to have received a grant from the hope & grace initiative, a project of the New Venture Fund in partnership with philosophy inc. The grant will support a strategic, multi-tier awareness campaign tied to our 2016 Climb Out of the Darkness to help reduce stigma and encourage women to seek help for maternal mental illness.
The hope & grace initiative represents an unprecedented and unending commitment by philosophy to support mental health and well-being. With the initiative, philosophy becomes the first company to place a deep focus on this important cause and the first major beauty company to make a brand-wide commitment to dedicate 1% of its U.S. net sales toward the cause through the hope and grace fund, a project of the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity that hosts and incubates a range of innovative and effective public interest projects in conservation, global health, public policy, international development, education, disaster recovery, and the arts. Founded in 1996, philosophy is part of Coty Inc., with headquarters in Phoenix and New York.
Postpartum Progress Partners with National Council on Behavioral Health To Provide Mental Health First Aid Training to Moms
September 2015 — Postpartum Progress announced a new partnership with the National Council for Behavioral Health that will provide scholarships for Mental Health First Aid Training to 100 Warrior Mom volunteers and Mental Health First Aid Instructor Certification to 5 Warrior Mom volunteers from across the United States in 2015 and 2016. This basic training will form the foundation of future Warrior Mom trainings and peer-to-peer support education.
Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that can help individuals across the community to understand mental illnesses, support timely intervention and save lives. The program is an 8-hour class developed by the National Council for Behavioral Health to teach participants how to help someone who is experiencing an ongoing mental health problem or crisis. Participants will learn signs of addiction and mental illness, the impact of mental and substance abuse disorders, a 5-step action plan to assess a situation and help, and local resources they can provide to women who may need further assistance. Mental Health First Aid is a nationally recognized, evidence-based program. To provide this training, Postpartum Progress and the National Council together will provide scholarships to cover the training costs for Mental Health First Aid trainings for 100 women, as well as Mental Health First Aid Instructor trainings for 5 women. The instructors will then organize and teach 3 Mental Health First Aid classes each in their own communities throughout 2016, reaching another 300 maternal mental health peer supporters.
Iodine Announces Partnership to Test Antidepressant Effectiveness App
September 2015 — Iodine Inc, the digital health company, announced a partnership with Postpartum Progress Inc. to provide its community with access to Start, Iodine’s mobile health program that helps people monitor their experience with a new depression treatment. The partnership seeks to help mothers with postpartum depression find what will work best for them individually, as well as generate population-level insights around the experience of women with maternal mental illness. These learnings will be shared with the community on a regular basis so they can benefit from others’ experience as well.
For millions of people, finding the right treatment for depression is a frustrating, broken process – of the 30 million Americans taking an antidepressant, only about half find their medication effective, 60% experience side effects, and only 30% receive adequate follow-up from their physician. The situation is especially pressing for new mothers. As many as one in seven mothers will experience postpartum depression, and the experience can be particularly lonely and difficult. Without treatment, both mothers and children can suffer from long-term health problems. Start is designed to address this. The program, which is based around a free iPhone app, combines self-reported data and activity sensor data from users’ iPhones so people can assess whether an antidepressant aid is helping them feel better – as soon as possible.
“Many people dealing with depression could endure a year or more of trial and error before finding the right treatment. Start turns validated clinical tools and guidelines into an app-based program to make finding a suitable treatment a more positive, more efficient process,” said Iodine co-founder Thomas Goetz, MPH. “We think this can be especially valuable for new mothers, and we’re thrilled to work with Postpartum Progress to serve this community.”
“At Postpartum Progress we see so many women struggling with treatment,” says Katherine Stone, founder and executive director. “New moms need as much support as possible and we look forward to seeing how Start can help them learn what works and what will help them become better advocates for their health.”
“Typically, the treatment of depression can be very inefficient and messy,” says Dr. Robert Hutchins, a resident physician at the University of California, San Francisco, who helped Iodine develop the Start program and will consult on the Postpartum project. “Start can help that, allowing the patient and physician to tailor therapy more specifically to a patient’s needs, symptoms, and side effects.” Start is available free of charge and can be downloaded here. People can enroll in the postpartum project by entering referral code “PPP2015”.
First Warrior Mom Conference Held in Boston
July 2015 – Postpartum Progress convened its inaugural Warrior Mom Conference in Boston on July 11 and 12. More than 100 attendees from 21 states and 3 countries – all survivors of maternal mental health issues – heard from speakers and panelists such as Mara Acel-Green, MSW, LICSW, Peggy H. Kaufman, M.Ed., LICSW, Kate Kripke, LCSW, Divya Kumar, Sc.M., CLC, PPD, Dr. Ruta Nonacs and Dr. Lekeisha Sumner, PhD, ABPP; participated in self-care workshops; celebrated strength and recovery at the Warrior Mom Celebration Dinner; and joined in peer-to-peer support groups, led by 18 conference attendees who had been trained by the organization MotherWoman in how to facilitate such conversations. The conference was held at the St. Botolph Club.
Attendee Danielle Nelson wrote about her experience at the conference on her blog saying, “I will be processing the gifts and struggles of this weekend for quite some time. I feel most called to speak my truth, finally. Not just here in my tidy corner of the internet, but out loud, out there, in my life. I need to tell my story for myself, as part of my healing, and for other women, so that they may know that there is hope, that they are Warriors, and that we are in this together.” Attendee Anne-Marie Lindsay also described how she felt to attend, writing: “I cannot adequately express how it felt to be in rooms and groups, big and small, with this tribe of women who know what it’s like to live this darkness. I have seen others say ‘I feel held,’ and that’s close. I’m not going over that cliff again, and the embrace of this community reminds me that I’m not falling back into the darkness.” A full agenda and speaker biographies can be found here.
3rd Annual Climb Out of the Darkness Surpasses Expectations
June 2015 – The 3rd annual Climb Out of the Darkness® was held around the world on June 21, with women and their loved ones in 43 states and 5 countries joining Postpartum Progress to raise awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and raise funds for our nonprofit. The event nearly doubled the number of participants from the previous year, growing from 1,500 Climbers in 2014 to 2,500 Climbers in 2015. Participants also surpassed 2015’s goal of $200,000, reaching $228,000 as of July 4, 2015. By contrast, they raised $167,000 in 2014, and $40,000 for the very first Climb, which was held in 2013. Between June 4 and July 4, the #climbout hashtag reached 3.3 million timeline deliveries on Twitter, including tweets or shares from singers Natalie Grant and Lisa Loeb, and actresses Anna Paquin, Monica Potter and Nikki DeLoach. The official video of Climb Out 2015, featuring Rachel Platten’s hit song “Fight Song,” has had more than 7,500 views. The Climb was also featured by numerous local media outlets.
Postpartum Progress’ Climb Out of the Darkness® is the world’s largest event raising awareness of maternal mental illnesses like postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety & OCD, postpartum PTSD, postpartum psychosis, postpartum bipolar disorder, and pregnancy depression and anxiety. The event is always held on or near the longest day of the year annually to help shine the most light on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. The event features mothers and others across the globe joining together to climb mountains and hike trails to represent their symbolic rise out of the darkness of maternal mental illness and into the light of hope and recovery.
Cotton Babies Announced As National Sponsor of 2015 Warrior Mom™ Conference
Postpartum Progress Launches Warrior Mom™ Shop
New Mom Get Help Checklist Is Newest Tool Offered by Postpartum Progress
May 2015 — Just in time for Mother’s Day 2015, Postpartum Progress is thrilled to launch its newest tool for moms: The New Mom Checklist for Maternal Mental Health Help. The checklist was created to facilitate helpful conversation between struggling mothers and the clinicians who can assist them. It allows moms to check off a wide variety of evidence-based symptoms and risk factors that may indicate the presence of perinatal mood or anxiety disorders. The tool has a fifth grade reading level, and was developed with feedback from clinical experts and more than 30 survivors of maternal mental illness. The objectives of the checklist are five-fold:
- Empower mothers to help themselves.
- Serve as a tool to facilitate conversations that can be difficult for mothers to start with their doctors and other care providers.
- Reinforce the variety of recognized, evidence-based symptoms of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders to both mothers and clinicians.
- Reinforce the variety of recognized, evidence-based risk factors of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders to both mothers and clinicians.
- Help clinicians get a clearer picture of how to best assist their patients.
The tool also helps mothers share a more comprehensive picture of what they are going through, which can be important at a time when lack of sleep and difficulty concentrating can lead them to forget key things to share at an appointment. Postpartum Progress will also be creating printed versions that are double-sided, with larger font, in tear-off pad form to share freely with advocacy organizations and clinicians for their use. These will be available for distribution in July 2015. A checklist for pregnant moms concerned they may have depression or anxiety during pregnancy is also on the way. The New Mom Checklist for Maternal Mental Health Help can be downloaded for free here.
George Washington University to Partner with Postpartum Progress To Look At Postpartum OCD
Postpartum Progress Releases 2014 Impact Report
Postpartum Progress Nominated for 2015 Iris Award
BabyCenter Launches PPD Survey in Partnership with Postpartum Progress
15 Influential Patient Advocates to Follow
Postpartum Progress Receives Its First Grant
Results of First Impact Survey Released By Postpartum Progress
Postpartum Progress To Be Beneficiary of New Anthology By The HerStories Project
BuzzFeed Features Postpartum Progress
Postpartum Progress Celebrates 2nd Annual Climb Out of the Darkness
Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Features Postpartum Progress During National Women's Health Week
Postpartum Progress Wins 2014 Iris Award
Postpartum Progress Partners with Smart Patients to Launch Private Forum
Postpartum Progress Raises $40k With First Climb Out of the Darkness
Postpartum Progress Launches PPD Bill of Rights
- Her risk factors
- The wide variety of symptoms women may experience
- The difference between normal new mom stress and postpartum depression
- The difference between postpartum psychosis and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders
- The fact that symptoms can appear any time during pregnancy or within the first year postpartum, and may last beyond the first year without treatment
- The fact that she can continue to breastfeed (if she chooses) while being treated for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders
- The long-term impact on both her and her child of untreated perinatal mood and anxiety disorders
4. The right to be informed of the variety of evidence-based treatment options for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders like PPD, postpartum anxiety/OCD, postpartum psychosis and antenatal depression. Her healthcare provider should discuss what she may experience with treatment, including potential side effects, how long it may take for treatments to fully take effect and how to reach him or her if there are problems. She has the right to know her treatment options and take part in decisions about her care. She has the right to ask about the pros and cons of any treatment. 5. The right to seek a second opinion, or to ask for a referral to a mental health specialist. 6. The right to be supported by those around her with respect and dignity as she recovers from this serious illness. “We know that these rights do not reflect the current experience many women are having in places across the U.S. and around the world,” said Katherine Stone, founder of Postpartum Progress. “While we have made progress, there is still much to do to ensure women with postpartum depression and other maternal mental illnesses are identified and quickly and effectively treated so they can be the moms they want to be. This Bill of Rights is our stake in the ground. This is what women expect and this is what women deserve, and this is what we are working toward.”