Recognizing Postpartum Depression
This project is a requirement of the GOA Abnormal Psychology Course. Using the process of design thinking, a challenge in the world of mental health was identified, interviews and research were undertaken, and a solution prototype was developed. Below you will find information about the identified area of concern and my proposed solution. Please feel free to provide feedback on this prototype, using questions such as “How might we…”, “What if….?”, “I wonder….”, “I like…”, and “I wish.” Keep the comments positive, please. For more information on the process of Design Thinking, click here.
With all of the hormonal changes that occur during and after pregnancy, Postpartum depression is a combination of both hormonal imbalances and associated risk factors. There are many women who don’t recognize their symptoms, who blame it on exhaustion, or are too ashamed to tell anyone they are suffering. PPD treatment should be as accessible as the wheelchair you are put into after labor- resources should be available to any woman after childbirth. With suicide being second leading cause of death in postpartum women, this public health issue demands solutions.
Above is a clip from my interview with Dr. Zebell, an OBGYN and the wife of my teacher Mr. Zebell!
Dr. Zebell and I talked about how there is so much stigma surrounding Postpartum Depression; at a time when a woman is supposed to be at her happiest, thoughts of hurting herself or her baby cause shame. There shouldn’t be shame surrounding any mental illness, but the reality is that people judge what they do not understand. This is why I want to educate and provide support for the women who are feeling alone or scared of their thoughts and emotions.
|If possible, the therapist will then visit the expecting mother at her home once a week throughout pregnancy, if this visit is inconvenient or too far, a phone call would suffice. If the therapist can assess how the mother is living, though, it may help gauge how she is actually doing.|
|For up to a year after birth, this same therapist will continue the weekly check-ins with the mother. It’s important to foster a relationship between the patient and therapist, especially because there is shame that surrounds PPD.|
I want to create a one-to-one relationship between a specialized PPD therapist and pregnant women during and after their pregnancy. This means that this person would be visiting the expecting mother once a week at her home (OR a phone call/ video call), and monitoring the mother’s emotions and pregnancy. This relationship would continue for up to a year after birth. I think this idea would help women who were never screened for PPD, who couldn’t share it with their doctors, or who need help getting better. By having someone to check up on the new mother after birth in a place that is comfortable and safe may help women be more inclined to share their emotions. Also, by building a relationship with this person during pregnancy, a sense of trust and support will be between the mother and doctor.
I know that my idea requires money, training, and complex logistics, so I am starting small. I plan on visiting Mother Baby Connections in Philadelphia; Mother Baby Connections is an outpatient program for prenatal women, and was introduced to me by Dr. Geller, a professor at Drexel. If you have any suggestions, questions, or idea for me please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please take a moment to fill out this survey so that we can work together on this major public health problem.