The biggest ever study on postpartum depression is now underway thanks to technology, and women all over the world are asked to get involved. The only tool they need? Their iPhone.


Yep, an app has been created by Apple in conjunction with the National Institute of Mental Health in the US, Postpartum Progress, and UNC Chapel Hill, which seeks to understand what causes postpartum depression or anxiety, and to determine why some women experience it and other don’t, and if there’s a way to predict who might be vulnerable to it.


So how does it work? Well, the PPD Act is a free app which is asking for 100,000 women who have experienced postpartum depression to participate. Normally these kinds of insights would take years to glean, but with this app, it can be collated in a relatively small amount of time.



When the app is downloaded, each woman answers 10 questions, and her responses will be measured on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression scale. From here the app will inform her if she is (or previously was) suffering from the illness – and based on her results will provide her with information on how to obtain treatment.


And any mums who scored over a certain mark on the scale will be asked to take part in the biologic study – and if they agree they will be posted kits to provide saliva samples for the National Institute of Mental Health to evaluate.


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



And according to Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody director of the perinatal psychiatry programme at the UNC Center for Women’s Mood Disorders, the app will be a game changer in developing treatment.


“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,” she told CNN. “Our overall goal is to prevent anyone else from suffering with these devastating disorders, and we need to know more about the underlying biology, the genetic risk.”


SHARE if you think this is exciting progression in treating the devastating illness.