Sage Therapeutics has released a campaign called "Silence Sucks," featuring crying women with pacifiers in their mouths, with the slogan, "when it comes to postpartum depression (PPD), silence sucks."
While it's certainly worthwhile to raise awareness about postpartum depression, many are criticizing the campaign for seeming to place the onus on women to speak up rather than normalizing the condition and helping people find treatment.
According to STAT News, Sage Therapeutics has been developing an experimental treatment for postpartum depression — a treatment that has found strong results from a clinical trial. The company's ads don't mention the drug, which still needs further testing to get approval from the FDA, but they urge women to talk "openly and honestly" about postpartum depression.
"'Silence Sucks' places the onus on women [to speak up]," Mara Acel-Green, a psychotherapist in Watertown, Massachusetts, told STAT News. "I think providers are silent. It’s not the women. Nobody is asking them."
According to the American Psychological Association, one in seven women experience postpartum depression, a serious mood disorder following a baby's birth. Symptoms of postpartum depression include loss of interest in things you once enjoyed, fear of not being a good mother, fear of being left alone with the baby, and feelings of anxiety.
While we as a society could stand to discuss postpartum depression more openly, a campaign that seems to infantilize women might not be the best start.
"It was such a missed opportunity to normalize the condition, to let women know it’s the most common complication of pregnancy, and to reassure them it’s a treatable illness," Acel-Green told STAT News.
Refinery29 has reached out to Sage Therapeutics for comment, and will update this story if we hear back.
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