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NIH Joins with Women’s Organization to Debut Postpartum Depression Video

NIMH, NICHD, DST launch “Mental Health Across the Lifespan” Initiative

Science Update

A new video about postpartum depression marks the launch of a mental health education collaboration by two NIH Institutes and one of the nation’s largest African-American women’s organizations. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) have partnered with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (DST) to create the Mental Health Across the Lifespan Initiative.

This initiative seeks to raise awareness about issues affecting women and their families throughout the lifespan, including mental disorders such as postpartum depression, and issues that can impact mental health, including bullying and aging.The effort stresses the importance of recognizing signs of illness and of seeking help and treatment from health care providers. The partners collaboratively identified the initiative’s target areas to provide information to multiple populations served by the organization including youth, older adults, and women of childbearing age. The focus on postpartum depression responds to a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, which calls for increased support, education and research related to postpartum depression by the federal government.

Educational modules—including presentations, guidance documents, and resource materials— have been developed for each of the target areas that will be administered by DST members in the communities they serve. The video, part of the module on postpartum depression, features a former patient and clinical researchers involved in NIMH’s intramural postpartum depression studies.

In preparation for the launch, NIMH and NICHD hosted a series of informational webinars with leaders of DST chapters in the United States and abroad. DST also plans to spotlight the initiative at its 52nd National Convention in Houston, Texas, July 23-25. NIMH and NICHD will host an implementation workshop at that meeting to discuss the project and identify best practices for community engagement.

During 2015 -2016, all DST chapters will be asked to implement programs using the materials developed by NIMH and NICHD. To further encourage participation, the Delta Research and Education Foundation (DREF), in collaboration with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., will award 10 Mental Health Program Grants to Delta chapters that partner with community organizations at the National Convention. These grants will be used to help chapters carry out programs focusing on the issues defined by the initiative.

DST has over 250,000 initiated members and more than 900 chapters worldwide and has been raising awareness about conditions impacting the physical and mental health of women and families for more than a century.

To learn more, visit NIMH MHAL.

MHAL signing ceremony

From left: NIMH director Thomas R. Insel, M.D, John Jarman, executive officer of NICHD, and Paulette Walker, Ed. D., national president of Delta Sigma Theta, signing the Memorandum of Understanding establishing the Mental Health Across the Lifespan Initiative. Source: NIMH


About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit the NIH website .

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®

About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the NICHD website. 

About the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): The mission of the NIMH  is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery and cure. For more information, visit the NIMH website.