November 28th, 2023

RSE and Office on Women’s Health launch new federal nationwide postpartum depression initiative

Talking Postpartum Depression spotlights women with real stories.

About 1 in 8 women report symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD) across the United States. It’s a serious mental health condition that significantly impacts a woman’s physical and psychological health. It can even affect the development of her infant in childhood.  

Talking Postpartum Depression is a new—and much-needed—initiative from the federal Office on Womens’ Health, developed together with our partners at LTG Associates and NORC at the University of Chicago. It’s emotional, educational and above all else, real, proving that healing from PPD is possible. It’s not an easy subject to discuss, considering the lingering societal stigma about mental health, not to mention the expectations and challenging circumstances new mothers can face. But this campaign tackles those issues head-on, proving support is out there and that PPD is a topic worth talking about.   

Read on to learn about the work. But first, watch this teaser. 

How It Started

We’ve worked diligently with OWH and our partners at LTG Associates and NORC over the last five years to develop the right strategic and creative approach. Knowing that PPD can affect any woman regardless of their age, socioeconomic status or the health of their pregnancy, we were conscious to ensure our work appealed to a broad audience while still acknowledging the cultural nuances and diversity of the population through both our campaign visuals and our messaging. 

With a federal government endeavor as expansive as this one, our responsibility was to guarantee all requirements were met for video and creative assets, paid and earned media strategy, organic social media and campaign webpages. We focus-grouped pieces and reviewed government publications/studies, incorporating feedback from medical professionals, partners and OWH’s internal teams.  

More than anything, though, we had to be authentic. We realized the best way to motivate action from someone struggling was to hear from someone who went through it, too. That led us in a direction focused on the power of conversation. Hearing about other people’s experiences helps us feel more connected and less alone. It can also change perceptions. We just needed to find participants willing to share their compelling stories. With help from our partners, we were able to locate five strong women from across the country ready to do just that.

How It Went

Within two months, the RSE production team put all the pieces in place for an incredible talk. We prepped each woman, provided travel for them and their families, interviewed dozens of experienced moderators, secured permits, childcare and even arranged for an on-call therapist if the discussion became overwhelming. 

We worked exclusively with an all-female production crew, an intentional decision that paid off beautifully. Their thoughtful collaboration added to the inspired mood on set. In an industry that’s predominantly male, it was refreshing to see the dynamic reversed. And they didn’t miss a beat, planning every detail and calmly troubleshooting any issue. The women featured in our videos were impressed, too, thanking us for the foresight to have a female crew to help put them at ease. 

Throughout the course of our one-day shoot, we captured our group discussion and five individual testimonials. In them, each woman tells her story in her own words, addressing fears, hopes, struggles and lessons learned. They offered support to one another on camera and behind the scenes. Even now, months after wrap, they’re still in contact with each other. Speaking fearlessly about their experiences with PPD and motherhood. 

Just what the goal of this campaign has been from the start.  

How It’s Going

Since our September 27, 2023, launch with an announcement from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Talking Postpartum Depression continues to make its mark: 

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