Understanding Postpartum Depression through System Thinking




Ajoku, Brittany


Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Purpose: Postpartum depression (PPD) is a lingering and potentially debilitating condition that affects 8-20% of women in the United States. The consequences of untreated PPD include disruption of relationships and societal contributions, adverse impact on the development of her infant, and significant costs to the healthcare system. Due to the adverse consequences of untreated PPD, it is important to use a system thinking approach to understand complexity of the condition and how organizations can play unique roles in preventing and treating PPD. Methods: By using a web-based search with the search terms "postpartum depression" AND "resources" OR "organizations", 10 organizations that prevent and treat PPD were identified. These organization were then organized in a system map by the type of social support they provide. Results: Most organizations provided social support through informational support, either to solely clinicians or to clinicians and providers. The remaining organizations included organizations provided social support in the form of emotional support and instrumental support. Organizations that provided informational support often served as the foundation for guidelines for organizations that provided other kinds of support. Conclusion: Most organizations that address the complexity of PPD with social support align with secondary and tertiary level of prevention. Moving forward, more organizations are needed to focus on primary prevention.