When Nuala Murphy was pregnant with her first baby, she was diagnosed with antenatal depression, an experience the now mum-of-two wants to harness so she can help the many, many women who find themselves in the same position.
Using her many years of experience in marketing, Nuala is now on the verge of launching a health- and wellness app, HappyMummyHappyBaby, for mothers and families that will screen for perinatal depression (perinatal refers to the period from you are in your pregnancy until 18 months after baby is born), as well as associated anxieties.
“I was lucky, my depression was picked up very early on and I got the help and support I needed, both from my family, but also from my healthcare professionals,” Nuala explains. “But it was such a frightening thing to go through. I felt like a failure; I felt numb.”
Having gotten better, Nuala became interested in how other women cope with perinatal depressions, and how easily and quickly they can get the help they need. Through her extensive experience in business and marketing (Nuala runs her own marketing firm in Belfast, Malone.Marketing), she started researching how women experience being diagnosed with depression in – or just after – pregnancy.
The stats convinced her. Here was a huge issue that needed addressing and better understanding and intervention.
“20% of women in the UK (and globally) suffer from some form of perinatal mood disorder with 70% saying they hide or downplay symptoms,” Nuala explains. “And early detection is so important. 50% of women surveyed said they weren’t checked for mental health during pregnancy. But we know that through early intervention sufferers can expect an 80%-90% recovery.”
Nuala set up a Facebook page, HappyMummyHappyBaby, to try and create an online community to help break down the taboo of perinatal depression, and empower women to protect their mental health.
The app, which Nuala is hoping will be ready to launch later this summer, will not only help screen for perinatal depression but also offer a repository for coping strategies, offer computerized CBT, as well as give access to a social support network to connect with others at different stages of their journey.
Right now Nuala is campaigning for votes to help win a share of £1,000,000 in prizes and pitch her business to Richard Branson as part of the Virgin Media Business VOOM 2016 competition. The competition, which Nuala hopes will help raise awareness for maternal mental health, relies on public votes to shortlist the UK and Ireland’s most exciting entrepreneurs, and we for one think the HappyMummyHappyBabyApp is absolutely worth your vote.
This is what Sir Richard Branson himself had to say about the competiton:
‘‘Virgin Media Business VOOM 2016 is all about seeking out, supporting and celebrating the UK’s and Ireland’s most exciting businesses. It’s the biggest and most valuable pitch competition out there – we’re hoping everyone will find a way to get involved!’
To vote for Nuala and HappyMummyHappyBabyApp, click here.