Postpartum depression (PPD) is constantly feeling down or anxious after the birth of a child. Just two weeks ago, ANN wrote about Hayden Panettiere’s struggle with PPD. According to clinicians and scientists from the University of North Carolina, PPD is a common form of depression that affects at least one in every eight women after the birth of their child. So, these scientists have teamed up with Apple, UNC Chapel Hill, and Postpartum Progress to do something about it.
They’re putting the power of prevention literally in the palm of women’s hands with “PPD ACT” – an app that allows current and former PPD patients to participate in a research study via their iPhones. The goal is to understand more about the genetic basis of the mental illness and learn why some women suffer from it while others don’t. The study will help them to eventually prevent postpartum disorders from happening.
“It’s a real game changer for our ability to understand the biologic causes of postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis and to use state of art science to develop innovative treatments,” UNC’s Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody, one of the app’s creators, told CNN. Postpartum Progress founder Katherine Stone told BuzzFeed, “You wouldn’t wish PPD on your worst enemy, and right now it can take months and sometimes years for women to realise something is wrong.”
“We want to talk to moms who self-identified and those who were clinically diagnosed. It gives moms an opportunity to have a voice on this like never before … We never want another mother to suffer,” Stone added. To achieve their goal, the easily-accessed app needs at least one hundred thousand postpartum survivors who want to protect other women from the same fate to participate.
The public is already expressing their support for the app. When BuzzFeed shared the news, one reader commented: “So happy about this! My mother actually had PPD after my sister was born, but she wasn’t officially diagnosed until 11 years later … She had to go to a treatment centre across the country for more than a month.” Other readers are wishing the app was also available on Android.