How can an educational interactive module be designed to increase women’s ability to identify perinatal mental health disorders, decrease perceived stigma of the conditions, and influence women’s help-seeking behaviors? 

According to the World Health Organization, depression will be one of the three leading causes of death globally by the year 2030. In 2005, the leading cause of death for pregnant or postpartum women in the United States was suicide resultant from depression. Depression during or after pregnancy is a frequent pregnancy complication and the leading cause of maternal death. It is a serious public health concern with high-risk consequences that directly affect at least 12-25% of women and their children.

The stigma surrounding depression during or after pregnancy is one barrier that deters women from discussing the issue and seeking help. This study collaborated with experts from the Women’s Mental Health Research Program (WMHRP) in the Department of Neuropsychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) College of Medicine to design and develop an interactive, educational tool. This tool was implemented at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System’s Center for Women’s Health-an outpatient care clinic-where the WMHRP conducts research focused on improving healthcare for women. The clinic serves a population at high-risk for perinatal depression. In fact, 30% of the patient population will experience major depressive disorder and/or general anxiety disorder during pregnancy. 




Interactive Patient Education Tools 

Interviews with healthcare practioners that work with perinatal mental health informed content and design decisions of the patient educational tool created with Adobe Illustrator, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, and Articulate Storyline. The high-fidelity tablet prototype was tested with pregnant patients. A core consideration for patient needs throughout the process helped produce successful, patient-tailored material.

Introduction to Perinatal Mental Health 


Destigmatizing Perinatal Mental Health Disorders