In June 2013 Columbia Center completed our first Community Health Assessment regarding the types of support desired by women struggling with post-partum depression and/or mood disorders. We mailed a postcard to Ozaukee County residents who had delivered a baby in the previous 6 months.  Our response rate from the postcard was low; therefore, we posted our questions on Facebook and received approximately 45 responses. 

As a result of the information we received from the 2013 survey we offered an evening support group. Despite our efforts to promote the evening time for the support group it did not draw women to the group. We then changed our time for the support group to one hour prior to our mom’s groups on Wednesdays. We reached more women with this time slot, but know there are more women in our community who we have not yet reached who could benefit from support and education.

In 2015 we began to work with two women willing to share their remarkable stories of challenge and success in dealing with post-partum depression and anxiety. We learned that most of the support they received was online.  This has been reaffirmed by new moms who attend our various support groups. We also know that many people lack a clear understanding of post-partum mood disorders.  Believing that their stories and online support would be helpful to other women, Columbia Center provided $10,000 to pay for the development of the website for Mom’s Mental Health Initiative (MMHI), a nonprofit, grass roots organization started by these two women.

We know that there are pregnant women and new moms with mood disorders that we are still not reaching. We understand that the majority of affected women do not receive treatment due to the lack of understanding and awareness regarding perinatal mood disorders. In addition, we know that family members of these women could benefit from education, additional support and guidance.

Therefore, for our 2016 Community Health Assessment we provided a questionnaire to assess the understanding our online community has regarding post-partum depression and anxiety.

Community: Families who have provided their email address to CCBH; Facebook; Mom’s Mental Health Initiative Website Subscribers

Survey Plan: A nine question survey was developed with the founders of MMHI and made available on our website and social media. 314 surveys were completed in June 2016.

2016 Survey Questions

Correct answers in bold – Percent of survey responses shown in brackets                                                                                                                                                                 

  1. Post-partum depression occurs among:
    1. 1 in 7 women (63%)
    2. 1 in 10 women (32%)
    3. 1 in 100 women (5%)
    4. 1 in 1000 women (0%)
  2. Post-partum depression is the most common complication of childbirth
    True  (88%)  False (12%) 
  3. Postpartum depression and/or anxiety can start during pregnancy
    True  (96%)  False (4%) 
  4. Baby blues can last up to:
    1. Up to 2 weeks (22%)
    2. One month (8%)
    3. Two months (11%)
    4. Indefinitely (59%)
  5. Common symptoms of post-partum depression include: Check all that apply:
    1. Depression
    2. Anger
    3. Crying
    4. Anxiety
    5. Insomnia
    6. Sadness
    7. Disconnected from the baby
    8. Overly concerned about the baby
    9. All of the above (96%)
  6. Post-partum depression and/or anxiety can occur:
    1. Within one week after having a baby (31%)
    2. Within one month of having a baby (8%)
    3. Within six months of having a baby (13%)
    4. Within twelve months of having a baby (48%)
    5. All of the above
  7. Women with post-partum depression and/or anxiety are not good mothers?
    True (2%) False (98%) 
  8. Post-partum depression and/or anxiety are 100% treatable.
    True (88%) False (12%) 
  9. Of the large number of women who experience PPD, what percentages receive care?
    1. 15% (85%)
    2. 50% (12%)
    3. 75% (1%)
    4. 100% (2%)


Based on the above results we believe there are three areas to begin to focus educational efforts:

  1. Incidence of postpartum depression – Only 63% of respondents answered Question 1 correctly
  2. How long can the baby blues last? – Only 22% of respondents answered Question 4 correctly
  3. When can postpartum depression and/or anxiety occur? – Only 48% of respondents answered Question 6 correctly.


Provide education via social media and in person meetings with care providers, and childbirth classes.