“Inside of Each Story Was a Piece of My Story”: Applied Folklore Addressing Stigma Around Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders

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Date
2017-02
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[Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University[
Abstract
Situated within scholarship on applied folklore, this dissertation discusses and evaluates the 2013–2015 Pacific Post Partum Support Society’s (PPPSS) “Strengthening Community-based Resources for Families Experiencing Perinatal Depression and Anxiety and Their Health Care Providers” project. In this project, working with PPPSS staff, contractors, and volunteers, I used mixed methods to create educational resources and new services for clients and professional helpers. The overall project was designed to reduce the stigma of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) and to encourage struggling new parents to reach out for help sooner, when treatment is likely to be less expensive and more effective. Making use of post-project follow-up interviews with project participants and staff, this dissertation documents, reflects on, and evaluates this project in order to serve as a case study to guide the development and implementation of similar applied folklore projects. By analyzing the narratives of project participants, this dissertation also examines the multifaceted, pervasive, and profound impact of stigma on new parents’ perinatal experiences, especially those experiencing a PMAD. This dissertation also discusses the process of sharing personal experience narratives in a supportive environment that formed the key inspiration for this applied project, as well some of the potential impacts on parents who share these narratives, including providing a way to understand their own experiences. This dissertation encourages additional applied folklore work to support struggling new parents and offers suggestions for how health care providers, community support workers, and friends and family members can better support new parents in the hopes of promoting positive outcomes for families.
Description
Thesis (Ph.D.) - Indiana University, Folklore and Ethnomusicology, 2017
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Folklore, Narrative, Health education, Mental health, Parenting, Postpartum depression
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Doctoral Dissertation