One month ago we announced the launch of PPD ACT in partnership with UNC School of Medicine, Dr. 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, UNC Health Care, and UNC School of Medicine Center for Innovation, the Queensland Brain Institute in Australia, the National Centre for Mental Health at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom, the National Institute of Mental Health and, of course, Apple. As of today, 10,000 women have enrolled in the largest ever genetic study of postpartum depression via the iPhone app.
You Warrior Moms really know how to bring it, don’t you?
Of those 10,000 enrollees, 5,000 are eligible to submit their DNA via the spit kit that will be mailed to them, free of charge.
These numbers are encouraging and speak to both the amazing ways technology has and will continue to shape our lives and our understanding of mental health as well as to the willingness of those who have experienced postpartum mood and anxiety disorders to make a difference for moms. Signing up via PPD ACT was an easy process for those with an iPhone. The fact that we can also collect DNA so easily in this day in age kind of paints a “we now live in the future” type of scene. This is the future, Warrior Moms, and we’re making a difference. We’re doing it!
The two lead doctors had things to say on the topic of mobile use and willingness to help other moms as well.
“The initial response to the study and mobile app has been incredibly encouraging,” Dr. Meltzer-Brody said. “This is a testament to the need for more research, acceptance and support for women who suffer from PPD and similar mood disorders. But our work is far from over.”
“This is a completely new way of recruiting study participants for genetic studies and is proving to be a highly effective way to recruit women for study participation in order to reach the large sample sizes necessary for psychiatric genetic studies,” Dr. Sullivan said. “The large sample size estimates are based on work I’ve conducted with the Psychiatric Genomic Consortium (PGC) on other psychiatric disorders.”
The study would like to see a total of 50,000 women, so we still have time and space for more moms to download the iPhone app and join the study. Which means you still have time to tell other moms about the app. We know you’ve been active on social media sharing it on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and every which place you live online.
We’d also like to encourage you to actively speak to those in your daily, off-computer life. That moms group you go to? With statistics showing one in seven moms experiences a postpartum mood and anxiety disorder, you’re not the only mom showing up every week fighting postpartum depression. Bring it up. Have you talked to your mom about it? It might broach a conversation the two of you need to have about what happened back then—and what’s changed since. What about your sister-in-law? Your cousins? Your best friend from high school and college? The women in your running group. Your co-workers—even male ones. Because not only do men experience postpartum depression, but maybe their wives fought it or are still struggling.
We have this great chance to not only gather this information and be part of research that will change things for the future, but to initiate conversations and thus destigmatize mental illness all over the place right now. Part of the mission of Postpartum Progress is to fight stigma, and we know that every single time you have one of these conversations, whether online or in person, you’re doing just that. You’re making it okay for another mom to say, “Me too.”
So, thank you, Warrior Moms. Thank you for jumping in on this amazing research project. Thank you for sharing it in your circles. We now ask you to continue sharing. Here’s what Katherine Stone, Postpartum Progress’ founder and CEO, had to say about the work you’ve been doing.
“Our ever-growing network of Warrior Moms is working diligently to increase awareness among women who have suffered from PPD and related mood disorders in the past,” said Katherine Stone, founder of Postpartum Progress. “We want to ensure that women understand that their participation in this study is a significant contribution toward treating – and eventually preventing – perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.”
Katherine believes in you. I believe in you. The whole team at Postpartum Progress believes in you. And we believe in this research. We believe it will give us the information we need to best help moms as we continue forward in our mission.
If you haven’t downloaded the free iPhone app yet, you can download it from the App Store. You can also share the link with those moms in your life: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id1048185979. If you have more questions about PPD ACT, we have answers. You can also reach out to us if you have further questions. We’re here for you; you are never alone.