Belfast-Dublin based business Moment Health has today, Wednesday 3 May, announced that it has secured investment from techstart NI to enable it to develop its first innovation which will focus on maternal mental health issues such as postnatal depression and associated anxieties.

The announcement was made on World Maternal Mental Health Day, part of Maternal Mental Health Week taking place 1-7 May.

Up to 20% of women develop a mental health problem during pregnancy or within a year of giving birth, with a cost to the UK of £8.1 billion. Given that women in around half the UK have no access to specialist perinatal mental health services and that suicide is a leading cause of death for women during pregnancy and in the year after giving birth, it’s clear that more help is needed for women and their families.

Nuala Murphy, the founder and driving force behind Moment Health said,

“It was only when I became pregnant with my first son that I began to learn that not everyone enjoys a trouble-free pregnancy, with some mothers who experienced perinatal depression struggling to recognise their symptoms and find the right treatment.

“Maternal mental ill-health is much more than the ‘baby blues’ and is potentially a very serious health condition if untreated. However, with early, targeted interventions, there is a very high rate of recovery at around 90%.

“Therefore, I have decided to build a technology company that will potentially help thousands of women and their families to identify that they have a treatable illness, understand that they are not alone, and where they can get help both professionally and through peer support.

“This first tranche of investment has enabled me to bring together a team to develop our first product and bring it to market. I am also delighted that we have appointed Noel Brady, who brings over 40 years’ experience to the team, as Chairman of our Board of Directors.”

Nuala Murphy continued, “The Moment Health products will be easy to use focusing on design and user experience. It will symptom check for perinatal depression and associated anxieties, as well as offering a user rated repository for coping strategies. The product will also make use of a social support network to connect with others at different stages of their health journey.

“I have an ambition to tackle maternal mental health issues on a global scale and believe that Moment Health will enable me to do just that.”

Hal Wilson of techstart NI said, “I am pleased that techstart NI has been able to support Moment Health with this substantial early stage investment to enable development of the team and technology.

“There is a growing awareness of mental health illness, and in particular perinatal mental health and wellbeing. There is a clear and urgent need for a solution on an international basis, which Nuala and her first class team are committed to delivering”.

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