Disease Areas

Depression and Postpartum Depression

Depression and Postpartum Depression

Depression and Postpartum Depression

Depression is a debilitating illness that is one of the leading contributors to disability worldwide1 and the second leading cause of disability in the U.S.2 Postpartum depression, one of the most common medical complications in pregnancy, is estimated to affect approximately one in eight women who have given birth in the U.S.3,4

Depression impacts a wide range of people, and in recent years, the incidence of mental health cases have increased dramatically.5 The symptoms can vary widely, affecting people in different ways. Despite more than 20 therapeutic options, two out of three patients fail to achieve remission with the current standard of care.6

Our Approach

We are committed to advancing innovative research on the pathophysiology of mental health conditions. It is estimated that fewer than one-third of people living with depression receive adequate treatment and approximately 500,000 women annually are affected by postpartum depression.4,6

We are working to advance the treatment of depression and pioneer solutions for those living with or impacted by these diagnoses.

Innovative Research

We are focused on revolutionizing the care of depression and exploring opportunities where great unmet need remains to change how mental health conditions are treated. As we work to develop new approaches to treating depression, we also aim to address the social stigmas of mental illness by working with the community through dialogue, raising awareness and creating understanding.

Depression: Lifting the stigma

Mental health stigma can cause those living with depression to feel ashamed and isolated. By sharing her family’s battles with major depressive disorder, Monica hopes to raise awareness and encourage acceptance. 

Postpartum depression: Caitlin's story

After Caitlin had her first baby, she thought the experience she was having was the “normal baby blues.” She felt overwhelmed and disconnected from her son and didn’t understand why. 

The Challenges of Diagnosing Depression

Many people experiencing depression may have trouble recognizing the signs and symptoms, leading to challenges in diagnosing and treating the disease. Mona Kotecha, M.D., executive medical director of our emerging neurosciences development unit, explains more about the impact of depression and the need to advance innovation in mental health.

Resources for People Living With Depression and Postpartum Depression

National Alliance on Mental Illness

The National Alliance on Mental Illness support groups offer the opportunity to share experiences and gain support from others affected by mental health conditions like depression (for U.S. residents). Learn more and find a support group near you.

Support Groups | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

DBSA offers peer-based, wellness-oriented support and empowering services online 24/7, in audio and video casts, in printed materials, in local support groups, in their chapters, and in mental health care facilities across America.

Chapters and Support Groups | Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Mental Health America

Mental Health America promotes mental health as a critical part of overall wellness. The organization works to address mental health and mental illness through advocacy, education, research and services.

Finding Help | Mental Health America

Postpartum Support International

Postpartum Support International provides resources to help families, providers and communities learn about the emotional and mental health of childbearing families.

Resources | Postpartum Support International (PSI)

Facts and Figures


In the United States, an estimated 1 in 8 mothers experience symptoms of postpartum depression, which equates to approximately 500,000 cases annually.4

1 in 5

Approximately 1 in 5 individuals in the United States will experience major depressive disorder at some point in their lives.7


Depression alone affects approximately 280 million people worldwide – impacting both lives and livelihoods.8

  1. GBD 2017 Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 354 diseases and injuries for 195 countries and territories, 1990-2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Lancet. 2018;392(10159):1789-1858.
  2. US Burden of Disease Collaborators, et al. The state of US health, 1990-2016: burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors among US states. JAMA. 2018;319(14):1444-1472.
  3. “ACOG Committee Opinion No. 757: Screening for Perinatal Depression.” Obstetrics and gynecology vol. 132,5 (2018): e208-e212. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000002927
  4. Bauman BL, et al. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2020;69(19):575-581
  5. Ettman CK, Abdalla SM, Cohen GH, Sampson L, Vivier PM, Galea S. Prevalence of depression symptoms in US adults before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(9):e2019686.
  6. Luo Y, Kataoka Y, Ostinelli EG, Cipriani A, Furukawa TA. National prescription patterns of antidepressants in the treatment of adults with major depression in the US between 1996 and 2015: a population representative survey based analysis. Front Psychiatry. 2020;11:35.
  7. Hasin DS, Sarvet AL, Meyers JL, et al. Epidemiology of adult DSM-5 major depressive disorder and its specifiers in the United States. JAMA Psychiatry. 2018;75(4):336-346.
  8. WHO, “Depression”, 2021. – reference for 280 million

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