One in five lower-income mothers experience depression symptoms following pregnancy (https://thrivenyc.cityofnewyork.us/#closetreatmentgaps).
HealthRight International's Peter C. Alderman Program for Global Mental Health (PCAF) is collaborating with New York City’s Maternal Depression Collaborative, a screening initiative under ThriveNYC, a comprehensive plan and roadmap to address mental health in the city. PCAF intends to brings its expertise in developing community-based maternal mental health solutions to address the mental health treatment gap for low-income mothers suffering from perinatal depression in NYC.
PCAF’s Maternal Mental Health Program in Uganda: Rates of maternal depression in Uganda are as high as 25% in some communities. PCAF developed a high impact community-driven intervention targeting maternal depression in low-resource health care settings. Using a participatory process with health care workers and pregnant and new mothers, PCAF developed a Maternal Mental Health intervention that targeted perinatal depression using evidence-based approaches within a stepped care model. A psychoeducation and wellness curriculum were developed around basic education with pictures and explanations on causes and symptoms of depression and behavioral activation techniques for self-care.
Program results in Uganda: PCAF’s Maternal Mental Health Program has screened over 4,000 pregnant women for depression during prenatal visits and provided immediate onsite psychoeducation to 1,058 found to have symptoms of depression. After receiving psychoeducation alone, results show that 80% of women report reduced depression symptoms at 1- month follow-up visits.
With funding support from A Community Thrives grant, PCAF will be able to design and test a community-based wellness program modeled after the innovative Maternal Mental Health Program approach found to be effective at reducing depression in Ugandan women and further adapt it for use in NYC’s Maternal Depression Collaborative. PCAF plans to adapt key principles of its Maternal Mental Health intervention developed in Uganda to address perinatal depression in New York City. To help adapt effective components of the program in the U.S., PCAF has partnered with Better Postpartum, a comprehensive 8-week holistic wellness program that features interviews with experts in postpartum care such as midwives, doulas, therapists, lactation consultants, nutritionists and baby sleep consultants. The online program provides support and resources to mothers and new babies in the critical transition period following birth, commonly referred to as the fourth trimester. PCAF will operate the program in partnership with participating hospitals and health centers that have committed to NYC’s Maternal Depression Collaborative.
The funding will increase accessibility to Better Postpartum’s wellness program for low-income pregnant women and new mothers who are in need of perinatal depression education, resources, and management tools. The funds will allow health care workers to provide a tailored version of Better Postpartum at no cost to low-income mothers in NYC who screen positive for depression symptoms during their prenatal, postpartum and well-child visits.