After suffering from postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter, Jade Kearney, who was also studying for a Master’s degree at NYU, decided to design an app helping new mothers experiencing the same illness.
She Matters is a digital health platform developed to support and encourage Black mothers dealing with postpartum and anxiety by offering access to community healthcare professionals and culturally-appropriate resources. With the help of healthcare providers, therapists and counselors, her goal is to remove the stigma around mental health by providing a safe and trusted space where Black women can express their fears and concerns around motherhood.
“While I was trying to finish my second master’s degree, I had to figure out how to navigate that space alone because between cultural stigma and medical neglect for Black women in the postpartum period, there was really no outlet for me,” Jade told TechCrunch in an interview.
Black women are typically fearful about where to give birth partly due to startling data revealing they are four times more likely to die during childbirth and 80% more likely to return to the emergency room months after giving birth. They are also 40% more likely to undergo undiagnosed postpartum illness than their White counterparts. To curb these statistics, Jade and her team at She Matters wrote “The Pink Book,” a guide for Black Women while pregnant, during birth and after delivery.
“Personally, I gave birth to both of my daughters at Morristown Hospital in New Jersey, but I live in Harlem, NY,” she wrote in a letter to Black women, who are encouraged to read “The Pink Book.” I knew that my chances of maternal morbidity and infant mortality were substantially decreased by crossing the George Washington Bridge.”
So far, Jade has raised $300,000 in angel money and has a goal to raise $2 million in seed funding to bring She Matters to the next level.
“I’ve cried more behind closed doors in the last 12 weeks than I have in my entire life, but I refuse to give up because Black women are suffering and the problem is fixable. It’s about community and communication, and it’s about making as much noise as possible in the healthcare industry so they know we will not stop until change in maternal morbidity and patient outcomes drastically improve.”