Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2020

Document Type

Doctor of Nursing Practice Final Manuscript

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice



First Advisor

Semira Semino-Asaro, PHD, APRN



Purpose: The purpose of this project is to explore the utilization of social media outlets (Facebook and Instagram) affiliated with a local community-based perinatal mental health organization in order to inform current and future outreach and health messaging efforts by that organization. Exploring the level of engagement and associated demographics of social media users will assist the organization regarding possible expansion of their social media presence.

Background: Worldwide, 10-13% of women experience a mental health disorder such depression and/or anxiety during the postpartum period. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) are associated with increased risks of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity - World Health Organization (WHO). The negative impact of untreated PMADs on the early mother-infant relationship can have long-term developmental consequences for children. Many of today’s new mothers belong to the original generation of Facebook users who were young adults or college students when many social media outlets were launched, and they continue to be actively engaged on social media. Adolescent mothers also spend a significant amount of time on the internet with some of that time spent searching for health information (Logsdon et al., 2014). Recent studies related to the use of social media by mothers with mental health conditions focus on the following variables: percentage of total photos spontaneously posted, average photos posted per day postpartum, percentage of postpartum photos that included mother, percentage of postpartum photos that include mother-baby interaction, and percentage of photos with clear baby face in which the baby is smiling (Dáu, Callinan, Mayes, & Smith, 2017).

Methods: This evidence-based practice project collected data from current social media platforms used by a community based nonprofit perinatal mental health organization over a 1-year period. Data gathered regarding social media engagement included: reach, engagement, new page likes, impressions, new followers, and demographics. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics to help identify any potential gaps in outreach and offer process improvements to increase the efficacy of social media engagement.

Results: The ratio of reach-to-liked exceeds 100:1. Information needs to be broadcast to a wide audience in order to touch the target audience. Facebook (FB) has a 14% higher focus on the reach to the service area. FB and Instagram (IG) appear to be age related. IG attracts a younger audience (25-34-year olds) and FB attracts an older audience (35-44 year olds).

Implications: Maximizing the use of social media to reach mothers with perinatal mood disorders may provide connections for women and their families and assist with linkages to providers. The normalization of PMADs may help women reach out for help sooner rather than later. Early identification and treatment play a pivotal role in recovery for this population. Identification of predominant variables and demographics can further lead to strategies to target a broader spectrum of women experiencing mood symptoms including minorities, women from various socioeconomic backgrounds and women across age groups.

Included in

Nursing Commons