Mental health support for moms when they need it
[music]>>DR. SIMONE VIGOD: It’s estimated that up to one in five women within pregnancy or the first year after childbirth suffer from some form of depression, anxiety, or a more serious mental illness, for example, a psychotic disorder. If one in five women are implicated with a postpartum mental illness each year for conditions that are potentially preventable and certainly treatable, that’s a problem. Many, many women either don’t seek help or are not able to get the help that they need. While there have been some gains over the past twenty years in terms of implementing effective treatments, rates are still really high.>>NEESHA HUSSAIN-SHAMSY: We have this perception that pregnancy and early parenthood are these Hollywoodized, glamorous versions of what reality is, and the truth is that this time in life is not always easy and so we want to make sure that through our research and through the care programs at Women’s College we’re providing women with the supports that they need during what can be a very difficult time. Our research is trying to address some of the barriers to perinatal mental healthcare by looking at solutions that are often virtual and therefore more accessible to women when they have competing demands on their time.>>DR. SIMONE VIGOD: The research that I conduct in my program is really focused on this whole concept of how do we get effective health services to pregnant and postpartum women who need them. We are evaluating an internet-based group therapy program for postpartum mental health issues. It’s called Mother Matters. It’s not a live group. Instead, women can post at different times of day. They can post at 3 o’clock in the morning if they want to post at 3 o’clock in the morning and can really engage in discussion in a way that is accessible to them and reasonable for them. We have so much demand that I think it really speaks to the need to reach these hard to reach populations because we give them just a kernel of opportunity and they’re clamouring to use these services. To be at a hospital that’s focused on women and at the same time focused on how to serve women in their communities, it’s unbelievable backing to do the kind of research that I do, which is to figure out how to design our healthcare system to meet the needs of women at this critical time.