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Stigma is a major barrier to help-seeking for women with postpartum depression (PPD),1-4 which mental health professionals can address through advocacy efforts.4, 5

How Can I Become a PPD Advocate?

1. Acknowledge perinatal mood and anxiety disorders in your place of work

  • Place posters, brochures, and books with eduational information about PPD and local resources in client waiting areas.
  • Ask clients about parental status and recent childbirths.
  • Assess prevalence of parenting by individuals with mental illness (including postpartum depression) and report results to city and county officials and local management entities to work towards greater allocation of resources for this population.  

2. Volunteer with local non-profits organizations that serve women with PPD.

3. Coordinate with other professionals serving mothers with mental illness

  • Optimize client recovery by advocating for your client’s interests with social service, criminal justice, and other professionals that may be involved in the client’s life.  
  • Develop a community action plan to mobilize resources and promote awareness.

4. Support family, friends, and peers with PPD

  • Offer non-judgmental emotional and practical support.

5. Learn more about PPD and share your knowledge with clients, colleagues, and community leaders.


  1. Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network. (2002). Postnatal depression and puerperal psychosis: A national clinical guideline. Retrieved from http://www.sign.ac.uk/pdf/sign60.pdf
  2. Liberto, T. L. (2008). Factors that influence help seeking behaviors in postpartum women with depressive symptoms. Southern Online Journal of Nursing Research, 8(2), 1-2. Retrieved from https://auth-lib-unc-edu.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/ezproxy_auth.php?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=c8h&AN=2010064211&site=ehost-live&scope=site
  3. Dennis, C., & Chung-Lee, L. (2006). Postpartum depression help-seeking barriers and maternal treatment preferences: A qualitative systematic review. BIRTH, 33(4), 323-331. Retrieved from https://auth-lib-unc-edu.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/ezproxy_auth.php?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=c8h&AN=2009547198&site=ehost-live&scope=site
  4. Bilszta, J., Ericksen, J., Buist, A., & Milgrom, J. (2010). Women’s experience of postnatal depression — beliefs and attitudes as barriers to care. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 27(3), 44-54. Retrieved from https://auth-lib-unc-edu.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/ezproxy_auth.php?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=c8h&AN=2010637442&site=ehost-live&scope=site
  5. Letourneau, N., Duffett-Leger, L., Stewart, M., Hegadoren, K., Dennis, C., Rinaldi, C. M., & Stoppard, J. (2007). Canadian mothers’ perceived support needs during postpartum depression. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 36(5), 441-449. Retrieved from https://auth-lib-unc-edu.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/ezproxy_auth.php?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=psyh&AN=2007-14061-005&site=ehost-live&scope=site