LOS ANGELES, May 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health (http://www.mmhcoalition.com/), whose members represent non-profit organizations working to advance maternal mental health outcomes, is organizing a week-long social media campaign on Mother's Day called the "May Campaign." The Coalition's goal is to raise awareness about the prevalence, symptoms of, and resources for maternal mental health disorders.
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"Moms and families are not routinely screened for maternal depression and other mental health disorders," explained Joy Burkhard, a founding member of the Coalition and the founder of the non-profit organization called the California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative. "It's important for families to know that just because their doctors may not talk about these disorders doesn't mean they don't exist."
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, postpartum depression is the most under-diagnosed obstetric complication in America (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/126/5/1032.short?rss=1).
Perinatal mental health disorders can occur anytime during pregnancy and the first year postpartum, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These disorders include depression and anxiety, which may include obsessive thoughts that can impact up to 20 percent of women during this time. Though rare, some women may experience psychosis, which is serious and requires immediate medical attention.
A Symbol to Bring Unity to the Cause
In addition to the social media awareness and education campaign, the Coalition developed a universal symbol for sufferers, survivors and supporters to show solidarity for the cause. A member organization, Postpartum Support International, hosted a public contest to identify such a symbol. "We are pleased to announce that the design "Blue Dot with a Sliver Lining" was chosen," said Wendy Davis, PhD, Vice Chair of the Coalition and Executive Director of Postpartum Support International.
The creator of the symbol, Peggy O'Neil Nosti, a survivor of postpartum depression, said she chose the color and shape of the blue dot "because it is a subtle way to let others know they aren't alone. The symbol is versatile, easily replicated and recognizable," she added.
The "blue dot" symbol already is being provided in magnet and sticker forms for cars, laptops and more through the Blue Dot Project website (www.thebluedotproject.org). Now that the symbol has been chosen in the public contest, other Coalition non-profit organizations will be developing their own blue dot apparel and awareness materials.
The May Campaign will feature the blue dot symbol and will include images and statements about maternal mental health disorders, including statements like "As common as breast cancer, but often undiagnosed" that will be shared through social media via the May Campaign Facebook and Twitter pages, using the hashtag #MomsMatter.
For more information about the National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health and the May campaign, visit: http://www.mmhcoalition.com and follow the Campaign via Facebook and Twitter at:
303-581-7760, ext. 18
SOURCE National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health