Maternal Mood Disorder

For many women, having a baby is one of the happiest and most fulfilling experiences of their lives. For others, the stress, sleep deprivation, and changes in hormones can be overwhelming. The "baby blues" that so many new mothers feel can turn into a more serious health condition known as Maternal Mood Disorder (MMD) (also known as Postpartum Depression), which affects as many as one in seven women.  In addition to the mental and physical impact on moms, research shows that babies of depressed mothers are at a higher risk of hyperactivity and delayed mental development. The financial implications are also significant. According to research led by the "Zero to Three” project, one mother with untreated MMD costs $23,000 annually. Yet, we know that mental health services, early screening, and intervention can make a meaningful difference.

Every year, Dignity Health delivers over 60,000 babies, many of whom are born to women whose social and economic status makes them even more vulnerable to MMD. We are committed to helping these mothers and their children by raising awareness about MMD and providing more options and support for women affected by it.

Our MMD initiative will create a Two-Generation Solution Toolkit for Maternal Mood Disorder that starts with universal MMD screening for all new moms.  Three pilot programs will test different intervention strategies that connect moms and babies to the resources they need in innovative and compassionate ways.  Our vision is to become a national model of excellence for promoting maternal and infant well-being.

How you can help

Dignity Health is committing more than $1.5 million to launch our MMD program and train our clinical teams. But truly addressing this issue and implementing a two-generation solution will take more resources and more humankindness. Your contributions will fund Support Coordinators who offer guidance, compassion, reassurance and assistance in linking to formal resources. Funds are also needed to increase education and outreach to moms, dads and families about MMD to peel back the shame and secrecy that has enshrouded the illness.

Fund managed by: Dignity Health Foundation 
Fund supervised by: Nancy Bussani , Vice President of Dignity Health Foundation

More women suffer from post-partum depression than from breast cancer. And if mothers are suffering, then their babies are not getting what they need to thrive. Yet we know how to treat PPD and to help babies reach their full potential. Let's make recognition and treatment for PPD as open a part of the national conversation as breast cancer has become.

Lynn Yonekura, M.D.

Make an Impact!

Donations can be cash, credit, or through payroll deduction* if you are a Dignity Health employee.  For more information or questions, please email Paul Richardson or call,  415.438.5537.


 *Technical Requirements:
Payroll Deduction is for Dignity Health Employees only 
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