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Step Up For Mental Health - Assisting Mother, Baby and Family Caregivers in Poverty

To assist a mother, baby or family when mental health plays a role in childbirth during and after when families are in poverty

Photo of Adrienne McCue
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In no more than 3 sentences, please tell us who your idea is designed for and how it reimagines the new life experience.

Family connection when a mother suffers from a mental disorder after giving birth and learning about coping issues for the whole family. Childcare, safety, and connection of mother and baby and educating the mother and family on mental illness and the effects and changes of the family unit.

Step Up For Mental Health is a peer-to-peer non-for-profit providing support, assistance and education. First, we support individuals dealing with a mental health disorder. Secondly, we assist family members caring for someone with a mental illness and, thirdly, we educate the public on mental health issues. We are here to share personal stories and help others make sense of the stigma and fear associated with illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

We know there are many misconceptions about how to best help family members and caregivers understand and manage day-to-day challenges. We address many issues relating to mental health including: the impact on families, the impact on kids and teens in school, poverty, hunger, homelessness, job loss, the elderly, mental health stigmas and loneliness.

"Worldwide about 10% of pregnant women and 13% of women who have just given birth experience a mental disorder, primarily depression. A recent meta-analysis showed that about 20 % of mothers in developing countries experience clinical depression after childbirth." - World Health Organization

Children who are dealing with mental health at an early age tend to face many challenges like stigma, depression, bullying from peers, shame, and anger - due to lack of understanding. Mental health not only affects the mother who is trying to care for the child but also everyone in the household who might not understand what is truly going on and how they can help. Education is key, particularly in homes where mental health isn't talked about to help move mother, baby and family forward.

To learn more about our mission and goals, please visit our website.

Step Up For Mental Health

At what stage is your idea?

  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

We know many families who have dealt with living as children in homes of mental health issues when the mother or parent has a mental illness.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

We would love assistance in conducting interviews with mother's, families and the public who live in poverty that has dealt with mental health in the home. Sharing stories and educating families is key to understanding.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am the Founder and Executive Director of Step Up For Mental Health. I has worked in peer-to-peer support groups, as a crisis counselor and with deaf children with behavioral issues. I work with children as a mentor and work as a consultant in the technology and web field.

This idea emerged from...

  • An Individual
  • An organization or company

Are you an expecting, new, or experienced mom?

  • no

Are you a healthcare practitioner?

  • no

Are you a current employee of UCB Pharmaceuticals or Sutter Health?

  • no


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Adrienne McCue ,

Great to see you in the Challenge. I'm curious about what your work thus far looks like with mental health communities of mothers?

This challenge addresses the new life journey from conception until 1 year postpartum. What would a user journey look like for a mother within this time frame?

Looking forward to learning more!

Photo of Adrienne McCue

Hi Lauren,

Well, that's a large question, but what I vision is that there are two issues I think need addressing. 1. Mother's who have a mental health issue before becoming pregnant and the issues that come with, for example, being off of medication during pregnancy or needing support when poverty is a factor. Also, how does the family deal with this as a household?

2. A mother and family dealing with the start of a mental health disorder, which is one of the issues my family had to deal with after I was born. Do they understand what's happening to the mother? How is this affecting the child and siblings? What if the mother needs to be placed in a hospital for treatment? What about the spouse or single household unit? How do we educate the family dealing with this new issue?

Postpartum isn't just a one-year time-frame or the only mental health disorder that can come with having a child, it can happen after two years of having a baby and beyond. For me, education, support, and understanding are key for families to deal with this new challenge.

Hope this helps on where I was coming from. We a new nonprofit, and starting our programs, but I do know issues a mental health disorder can have when the mother is the main caregiver are huge for all connected. Cheers. - AM

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