To continue expanding upon the increased dialogue about maternal mental health and postpartum depression in the U.S., the National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health (NCMMH) is raising the volume for its 3rd annual Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, May 1-7.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, postpartum depression is the most common, yet most under-diagnosed, obstetrical complication in the country impacting women, infants and their families. Research suggests up to 20% of the approximately 4 million U.S. women who give birth each year will be affected by a maternal mental health disorder. Yet most doctors don’t screen for these disorders and it is estimated that only about 15% of those 800,000 women will get the help they need.
Maternal mental health disorders occur during pregnancy and up to one year postpartum – and can include mild to severe depression and anxiety; and the less common but very serious postpartum psychosis, which affects less than .5% of women but is always considered a medical emergency.
Since its founding in 2013, NCMMH has made strides in raising awareness, promoting federal legislative changes and partnering with other interested stakeholders. NCMMH was instrumental in the 2016 passage of the Bringing Postpartum Out of the Shadows Act, which, if funded, will provide states with federal grants to develop and maintain programs for improved screening and treatment.
As part of its annual Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, NCMMH is launching a nationwide social media campaign intended to expand awareness of and the conversation about these treatable complications surrounding pregnancy. This year’s theme incorporates the universal symbol of maternal mental health, The Blue Dot, using the hashtag #ConnectTheDots throughout the weeklong effort.
Individuals and organizations are invited to join the conversation by following NCMMH on social media.
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NCMMH will #ConnectTheDots with a series of daily messages, images and video content that discuss the key aspects of postpartum depression, its complications and solutions:
#MoreThanDepressionMonday will focus on spotlighting the symptoms of postpartum depression that extend beyond depression.
#TruthTuesday will focus on the facts surrounding maternal mental health and its impact.
#WorldWednesday will be a call-to-action for people to take a selfie wearing blue with the hashtag #ConnectTheDots.
#ThinkOfHerThursday will include ways friends and family can help someone they know is suffering.
#FearlessFriday will encourage those who are suffering to share their story and to participate in a Twitter #PPDChat with national leaders.
#SayItSaturday NCMMH will release shareable video content produced specifically for Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week.
#SaveTheDateSunday will promote the viewing of the latest documentary addressing maternal mental health disorders, When the Bough Breaks.