Sometimes I wonder whether, if I knew what Postpartum Depression (PPD) was, its hellish mood rides, anxious moments and intrusive thoughts, I’d be better placed to deal with this monster. I ask myself whether, if the nurse had mentioned its symptoms after delivery, perhaps I would be in a better position to act and seek assistance early enough. Or how, perhaps someone could text, check in and let me know I was at risk of getting PPD?
Granted, there is much need to raise awareness about PPD, especially here in Kenya. Here’s the thing about this form of depression though, there is no specific known cause of PPD. There are many risk factors associated with this mental disorder, but no specific known cause, yet. Which is why I was excited the other day, while reading Postpartum Progress, I learned that a set of fabulous teams from Carolina, Queensland and Cardiff are working on an Apple application to launch PPD ACT (A-ction towards C-auses and T-reatment ).
PPD ACT is the first of its kind globally, and goes to show just how much technology can influence mental health across the world. The essence of the app is to conduct research on a global scale to get as many details as possible from moms who have suffered from Postpartum Depression and any of its variations (Postpartum anxiety or Postpartum psychosis). The beauty about this study is that it encompasses just about every mom, whether they had this disorder a decade ago, or are smirk in the middle of it.
The app is simple a channel for data collection. As included in the app’s official website here, there will be two phases of the study.
Phase 1 will involve moms providing answers to the specified questions as pertains to their birthing experience and any symptoms that presented themselves afterwards. Once this is done, the team behind PPD ACT will then provide feedback based on the answers provided. Depending on this feedback, moms may be advised to see medical doctors in their respective locations in order to offer therapy to treat PPD.
Phase 2 will involve the provision of saliva samples by selected moms. The purpose of this sample is to provide DNA so that the team of researchers can find out whether there is a genetic predisposition for moms at risk of PPD. The findings from this phase will then create a foundation for the development of new treatment and therapy.
Presently, the app is available on Apple only (Really hoping an android equivalent comes up sooner), and for moms in USA, UK and Australia. (And another set of hopes for availability on Africa – till then, so much groundwork to be done). This is good news, and I can only be hopeful that many more moms need not suffer PPD in silence.
If you are interested in further reading on the PPD ACT, here are resource sites for you: