Shining a Light on Maternal Mental Illness
Originally posted on CooperKatz’s official blog, The Thought Bubble.
When new mom Ali Kozoll returned to her home in Burbank, CA from the hospital with her newborn, she had her first panic attack. It was shortly followed by a lack of emotion toward her baby, and eventually, the apathy turned to rage — a rage she thought could only be quelled by running through her neighborhood and smashing car windshields with a baseball bat. It was more than a year before Ali was diagnosed with postpartum depression (PPD) and another five months until she admitted her diagnosis to her husband.
Thankfully, during a group therapy session, Ali learned about Postpartum Progress, a nonprofit organization focused on improving awareness of maternal mental illnesses and providing peer support for women who suffer from them.
In April, CooperKatz was given the opportunity to support this amazing organization and their fourth annual Climb Out of the Darkness® which took place this past Saturday on June 18, and our team jumped at the chance. Why? Because stories like Ali’s are more common than one would think.
One in seven women is diagnosed with a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder. Of those affected, only 15 percent get help, due to the lack of awareness and the stigma surrounding these illnesses. Not to mention, suicide is the second leading cause of death for women in their first year postpartum.
Many of us here at CooperKatz have close friends or family who have experienced postpartum depression and anxiety. Some of us have had it ourselves.
Our charge was to raise widespread awareness — both nationally and locally for 180 Climbs — while helping to drive critical donations that support women suffering from this disease. For three months we worked tirelessly — coordinating with numerous media outlets, creating a powerful video showcasing the juxtaposition of postpartum depression and what is seen on the outside, and teaching Climb Leaders and Postpartum Progress Warrior Moms how to publicize the event in their local communities.
And on Saturday morning, many of us traveled across the Hudson River to either support long-time CooperKatz alumni Lesley Neadel, in her Climb in Hoboken, New Jersey or stop by the Climbs in our local communities.
Like all events do, this one has come to an end. The number of Climb participants increased 60 percent from last year, with more than 4,000 supporters joining together from around the globe. Postpartum Progress surpassed its fundraising goal by more than 30 percent with donations still rolling in. To-date, we’ve tracked more than 100 media placements in the U.S. alone.
We are always proud of our work — but even more so when it’s for a cause like this. We’re proud to represent such an important and remarkable organization and to help promote Postpartum Progress’ mission — to help every woman, women like Ali, climb out of the darkness of postpartum depression and anxiety.