Some exciting news started circling around last week. There’s a new app on the market aimed to help scientists figure out why some women suffer from postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis and others don’t.
The University of North Carolina School of Medicine, together with Postpartum Progress, Apple, the Queensland Brain Institute in Australia, the National Centre for Mental Health at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom, and the National Institute of Mental Health launched what has the potential to be the largest study and largest amount of data gathered of moms with postpartum depression to-date: the PPD ACT.
As someone who has suffered pregnancy & postpartum depression and anxiety, OF COURSE I wanted in.
I downloaded the app (free from iTunes) and when I had about 30 minutes to myself, I answered the questions on consent, took a quiz (they really want to make sure you understand how this study works and what you’re consenting to), and proceeded to answer the questions on my experiences with postpartum depression and anxiety.
If you are familiar with the Edinburgh Depression Scale, the questions might look familiar. The questions I was asked focused on my mood and anxiety after G was born. I love that it was done in the comfort – and privacy -- of my own home. In bed, even! My answers qualified me to give a DNA sample, if I was willing to.
I’m waiting for my “spit kit” as we speak.
UNC is looking for 100,000 women to be part of this study. If this goal is reached, the PPD ACT will be the largest study on postpartum depression to date.
It doesn’t matter if you were officially diagnosed with postpartum depression, anxiety or psychosis. It doesn't matter if you are currently experiencing these illnesses or if it was 20 years in the past. If you’re a mother with an iPhone/iPad who knows something wasn’t (or isn't) quite right during her postpartum period when her babies were born, YOU can be part of this study. None of this is at cost to you and has the potential to change and improve the way we care and treat pregnant and new moms with these illnesses.
I’ve been part of a clinical study before – for antibacterial soap. It was way back before I was thinking about kids and it was an easy way to earn $250.
But this? This to me is so much more rewarding. If researchers find something substantial it could be a big game changer for mothers everywhere, and knowing I helped bring about that change? Well, that’s worth a lot more than any amount of money someone could offer me to do this.