Parents

Can Apple Change The Face Of Postpartum Depression?

Apple’s ResearchKit is putting genetic studies in the palms of our hands.

1. As many as 1 in 8 mothers will experience postpartum depression, psychosis, or a related maternal mental illness, and Apple has teamed up with UNC Chapel Hill, Postpartum Progress, and the National Institute of Mental Health to do something about it.

PPD ACT

2. They’re putting the power of prevention directly into mom’s hands with PPD ACT, an app that allows current and former postpartum depression and psychosis patients to participate in a research study via their iPhones.

Rochelle, a PPD survivor, photographed by Jill Krause

Based on the information collected, some women will be asked to donate DNA (via saliva collection) for a genetic portion of the study.

“For us it’s momentous because we have an opportunity to bring together at least one hundred thousand women who have been through this” Postpartum Progress founder Katherine Stone told BuzzFeed — “what I love most is that it’s very patient centered. It doesn’t have the restrictions of usual studies — we want to talk to moms who self-identified and those who were clinically diagnosed. It gives moms an opportunity to have a voice on this like never before.” And that kicks ass.

3. UNC Chapel Hill has a successful history with studies like this. In 2008 they were the first to identify a genetic variant in people with Schizophrenia. This means they know a lot more about the illness now and can develop better treatments.

Dianthe, a PPD survivor, photographed by Jill Krause

“We believe it’s a real game changer for our ability to understand the biologic causes of postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis and to use state of art science to develop innovative treatments, and that’s the overall goal,” UNC’s Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody, one of the app’s creators, told CNN.

4. To achieve their goal, PPD ACT needs at least one hundred thousand survivors to participate.

Maggie, a PPD survivor, photographed by Jill Krause

This could have taken years to find the old fashioned way, but with Apple on board, the app provides broad and simple access to thousands and thousands of women. LITERALLY IN THE PALMS OF THEIR HANDS.

5. “You wouldn’t wish PPD on your worst enemy” Stone told BuzzFeed, “and right now it can take months and sometimes years for women to realize something is wrong. There can be months lost before a mother ever reaches out for help.”

Raivon, a PPD survivor, photographed by Jill Krause

“A decade ago everyone was suffering in silence. Now, thanks to social media, we’re talking about it. Women are sharing their stories. With this app, we have an opportunity for collective action as patients who have been there. We never want another mother to suffer.”

6. Are you a fellow PPD survivor who wants to protect other women from the same fate? Then CLICK HERE, download the app, and get to swiping.

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

 
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