Marisa Woznicki talks about how she and her team at Allegheny Health Network executed their #MyWishForMoms initiative featuring Chrissy Teigen

We want moms and their families to understand that postpartum depression and anxiety are real, treatable, and AHN is here to help -- and in this inspiration #MyWishForMoms was born. Marisa Woznicki
Marisa Woznicki, Social Media Marketing Analyst at Allegheny Health Network, and her team recently collaborated with the health system’s marketing team on a massive initiative called #MyWishForMoms.

The initiative centered around videos featuring Chrissy Teigen and AHN patients having a conversation about their experiences with postpartum depression. It spanned across their digital channels — with a large piece living on AHN’s social pages.

The initiative came about from the hope that it could be a catalyst for a national conversation about reducing the stigma of postpartum depression and anxiety.

According to Marisa, Allegheny Health Network believes so strongly in the emotional health of moms that they built a facility dedicated to it — the AHN Women Alexis Joy D’Achille Center for Perinatal Mental Health.

“In December 2018, the Center opened at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh. It is one of only a handful of centers in the country that offer the level of care that we do for women with perinatal mood disorders,” she said.

She explained that while postpartum depression affects more women each year than breast cancer, only 15% of them receive treatment.

“That’s largely due to the stigma that surrounds mental health,” she said. “We want moms and their families to understand that postpartum depression and anxiety are real, treatable, and AHN is here to help — and in this inspiration #MyWishForMoms was born.”

The initiative focused not only on raising awareness for postpartum depression, but also providing education and resources to those in need.

“During the time following delivery, so much of the care shifts towards the baby, but moms need to be focused on too,” Marisa said. “With that in mind, it was also extremely important to us to provide education and resources for those in need. Those free resources are available on our website — MyWishForMoms.org.”

AHN Women is all about being authentic and real -- exactly what Chrissy is all about. Marisa Woznicki

The initiative was owned by AHN’s marketing team, but the social media team worked as a close partner.

To bring the initiative to life, they also worked with their public relations, internal communication, hospital operations, and clinical teams — as well as their advertising and digital media agencies.

According to Marisa, they considered several celebrities for the partnership, but Chrissy was chosen because she has openly talked about her struggles with PPD.

“AHN Women is all about being authentic and real — exactly what Chrissy is all about,” Marisa said. “She is a model, author, activist, and pop culture icon. She is also a perfect demonstration that mental health does not discriminate no matter how much money or help you have.”

She said it was also important to reach moms where they are — on Instagram — and harness Chrissy’s social media power to connect with her dedicated 24+ million following.

“In addition to Chrissy, we also had the support of many other social media influencers that have continued to share their #MyWishForMoms, keeping the conversation going to further reduce the stigma around perinatal mental health disorders including postpartum depression and anxiety,” she said.

The videos also featured three women who have experienced postpartum depression.

#MyWishForMoms really connected with women and created a safe place to share, with many sharing their story for the very first time. Marisa Woznicki
“Our clinical team at the Alexis Joy D’Achille Center selected these women because they all had different experiences with postpartum depression, yet so many women could relate to each one,” Marisa said. “These women and their stories highlight the need for these services within the community are the reasons why we built the Alexis Joy D’Achille Center and developed new screening and treatment programs in the first place.”

The initiative has far and away exceeded the team’s goals for the initiative, Marisa said.

In less than four weeks, they drove over 250-million media impressions, 19-million social media engagements, 200K video views, and over 35K social media comments. She added although appointment volume had not been the main goal of the initiative, they did see a double-digit increase in women’s behavioral health appointments as well.

The thousands of comments they received were not just from followers who appreciated the content, but from women sharing their own stories. “#MyWishForMoms really connected with women and created a safe place to share, with many sharing their story for the very first time,” Marisa said.

To prepare for that influx of engagement during the initial phase of the initiative, they partnered with their marketing teammates to help monitor and respond to comments.

It's important to schedule breaks, be honest with your teammates, and raise your hand if you need someone else to jump in and help. Marisa Woznicki
“It allowed us to double or triple the size of our four-person social media team and divide the monitoring and community management efforts with our marketing teammates,” Marisa said.

“An effort like this may take a large team comprised of social media and subject matter experts,” she said. “We had those, plus additional teams on standby ready to jump in at a moment’s notice depending on response volume.”

Due to the sensitive nature of this initiative, the team read and responded to every comment to make sure they could provide help for women in need, Marisa said.

Many of the comments they received were very personal essays, she said, so they took time to read and digest. Marisa emphasized how proud the team was of their efforts because in cases where followers were reaching out for help, they were able to connect them with care, not only in their service area, but throughout the U.S.

However, according to Marisa, the comments they received took an emotional toll on the team. “It’s important to schedule breaks, be honest with your teammates, and raise your hand if you need someone else to jump in and help,” she said.

For other hospitals looking to execute a similar initiative, Marisa recommended testing as many scenarios and reports as possible ahead of time.

“Chrissy posted about being in Pittsburgh ‘for work’ while she was secretly in town to shoot the videos. She has quite the following, and even that small post created a lot of excitement around town and on social media,” she said.

Frequent and thorough communication to all key stakeholders is key to alignment in execution -- particularly when things don't go as planned. Marisa Woznicki
The team monitored the engagement from that post, and although they typically monitor within their social media management tool, this influencer content had to be monitored natively and was made more difficult because Instagram doesn’t have an option to sort comments in chronological order.

“This was a great ‘dry run’ of what it would be like to monitor and report on chatter from Chrissy’s posts and helped us to better allocate resources to that portion of our monitoring plan for the overall initiative,” Marisa said. “We recommend testing everything you can, early and often.”

Marisa emphasized the importance of setting expectations with your business partners about prioritization and which types of requests you can accommodate during the launch period.

Months of planning went into #MyWishForMoms, she said, including message preparation, risk mitigation, testing, and set-up — but they also had other campaigns in motion at the same time.

“In order to support everything, we had to be flexible and communicate expectations with our business partners,” she said. “It led to some challenging conversations for us, but it’s better to be upfront than to under-deliver and disappoint business partners,” she said.

Overall, she was proud to see how well her team worked with other teams and handled challenges throughout the initiative.

Although the team thoroughly planned for the initiative, they still encountered surprises along the way.

We Marisa Woznicki
“We learned that close and frequent communication with all involved stakeholders was critical to success and to avoid unintended and self-inflicted challenges,” Marisa said.

No amount of planning can fully prepare you for your first major influencer campaign, she explained. “It’s important to be flexible and ready to pivot as necessary,” she said. “Frequent and thorough communication to all key stakeholders is key to alignment in execution — particularly when things don’t go as planned.”

According to Marisa, they’ve continued to leverage the initiative and they intend to keep using the #MyWishForMoms hashtag to engage in conversations around postpartum depression and anxiety.

To further empower their influencer partners to keep the conversation going, the team invited moms, partners, social media influencers, healthcare professionals, and maternal mental health advocates from across the country to a two-day #MyWishForMoms Summit at West Penn Hospital in August.

“We saw a significant increase in traffic and the use of the hashtag before, during, and after that event,” she said. “We were inspired to see the positive response from the attendees, and it proves that what we are doing is making a difference.”

Marisa Woznicki has been a member of SocialMedia.org Health and SocialMedia.org since 2019. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.