How Canopie Supports New Moms' Mental Health
When a baby is born, so is a mother. Over the early days and weeks, the focus generally goes straight to the baby. Are they eating? Are they sleeping? Are they thriving? But what about the newly-minted mom? How’s she doing? Is she getting enough sleep? Is she overwhelmed?
One of the most important and, all-too-often, overlooked postpartum topics is a new mom’s mental wellbeing. Up to 70% of new moms struggle with their mental health and most of them won’t receive any help or treatment for it. That’s why we’ve partnered with Canopie to provide new moms with mental health tools as part of our Postpartum Box.
So what is Canopie? The quick answer is that it’s an app that delivers evidence-based care to mamas whenever they need it. To shed a little more light on how it works, we went directly to Canopie’s Co-Founder and CEO, Anne Wanlund, to further explain how the Canopie app helps women.
1. What was the inspiration behind Canopie? / How did this idea come to fruition?
It was really a few things coming together - my own experience with anxiety during pregnancy in particular and seeing how much harder it was to get help that really worked for me postpartum, but how much more necessary it was for the sake of my family. My co-founder and I also received a grant from a research-focused incubator to focus on mental health. And I’d say that these two things are pretty much what Canopie is - deeply personal and connected to real moms' experiences, but also rooted in really strong research and evidence. Moms do not have time to do things that don’t work!
2. Who is Canopie for? And how long have you been around?
Canopie is focusing a lot on new and expecting moms’ mental health, and anyone who becomes a caregiver. It’s this transition in your life when you stop being able to prioritize yourself, but in doing that, the act of parenting becomes harder. It’s this reinforcing cycle of not prioritizing our own wellbeing that makes life harder, and difficult to break out of the cycle because the coping mechanisms we had before kids may not actually be realistic for us anymore. And our challenges can be a lot more acute because of the changes we’re going through coupled with other responsibilities in our lives.
3. Can you share a high-level overview of how women engage with the app?
First, it’s such a personal decision to decide when you are ready to ask for/need help, but most women who come to the app are struggling with something - feeding, relationship issues, sleep, bonding with their baby, etc. And when she does, we use information about what she is specifically struggling with to customize the program she gets. We try to have people engage for about 10 minutes a day for about 10 days, and the more you can do in a short period of time, the better - which is how we tested Canopie - most people did the program within a few days. What makes us different is that we’re trying to get people out of the app, to feel better as quickly as possible.
4. What is the initial feedback you’re getting about the app from Moms who have used it?
We got the most extensive feedback when we did our randomized controlled trial last summer. Moms realized they were blaming themselves in a way they wouldn’t others. They forgave themselves for not living up to their standards. They started taking mindful moments during the day - pauses to just breathe and reflect - instead of barreling through the chaos like we normally do. There’s so much we can do to adapt to these new circumstances, but it does take practice and having the right tools to do it. Many of us just grin and bear it, when there are other things we can do to make our experiences easier.
But on a broader level, 90% of users saying Canopie’s sessions are helping them feel better right now!
5. What are you most proud of regarding the creation of the Canopie solution?
I think it’s really about the impact. Making something we know will work for most people. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression all my adult life and have had trouble finding things that really work - and that are sustainable. And it was hard to create something that people would like from research, because research isn’t really designed by moms going through it. That’s a big limitation. So I love that we are holding ourselves to a really high clinical bar while also making the experience easy, accessible, and appealing.
6. Any dreams or aspirations when it comes to Canopie’s growth? Partners? Target audiences?
We want to be in every expecting and new mom's hands when they have that first OB appointment to when they’re discharged from the hospital or after having the baby - and really for a long time after. We’ve got some great partners - Wumblekin, obviously, and we’re partnering with health systems and health plans this year. We want to create better health outcomes for low-income moms and Black and Latina moms, in particular, because as a society and in healthcare delivery we have failed these moms the most in traditional methods of support.
We’re excited, too, to expand into some other areas soon, including fertility, which is incredibly stressful, but research shows that digital interventions that use the same therapeutic techniques that Canopie uses can really help reduce stress - and also improve fertility outcomes.
A subscription to the Canopie app is included in our Postpartum Box. Your access code is included on a handy little magnet so you can save it and access it whenever you might need help.