- Participants needed for a collaborative research project to identify barriers for isolated women in accessing online support programs for women with postnatal depression
- Up to 15 per cent of new mothers suffer from postnatal depression
- Women in rural areas are exposed to additional difficulty when accessing help as support may be far from home
- Isolated women may have particular challenges in accessing and using proven effective online programs
Women living in rural and remote locations who from suffer postnatal depression (PND) face considerable difficulty in accessing support for this debilitating condition, according to researchers from Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) and Charles Sturt University (CSU).
A collaborative research team, led by Ms Keryl de Haan from MLHD and Associate Professor Maree Bernoth from the CSU Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS), will identify the barriers and enablers for rural and remote women to access an online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) program developed by the Parent Infant Research Institute (PIRI), based in Victoria, called MumMoodBooster (MMB).
“Postnatal depression affects between 10 and 15 per cent of mothers within the first year after giving birth,” Ms de Haan said.
Professor Bernoth said, “These women find access to support in rural and remote areas can be complex, and we want to ensure women have access to this clinically proven, online therapy”.
The team will also make recommendations to ensure women with PND, and who are living in rural and remote areas, have access to effective and timely support.
Ms de Haan believes women should have access to clinically proven interventions for PND, regardless of where they live.
“By using an evidenced-based online intervention, we want to inform future policies and procedures to support women with PND in isolated areas who have limited access to services that are more readily available to their city counterparts,” Ms de Haan said.
“The research project involves clinicians who work in rural and remote areas as the outcomes will have implications for their practice and important outcomes for the women they support.”
The research team is now looking for participants to help explore the challenges presented to isolated women accessing an online support.
Participants will be asked to complete a short questionnaire, undertake the online program and talk to the researchers about their experiences in accessing the program.
“The project will monitor what helps women to access the MMB website and what challenges they faced when attempting to use it,” Professor Bernoth said.
“Participants can be assured that their identity and information will remain confidential, and will receive three $30 gift cards for participating in the study.”
Tresillian, the largest specialist early parenting organisation in Australia, is also collaborating in the study as it could be rolled out to women who are isolated for a variety of reasons, not just because of their geographic location.
“We hope we can find a model that can be implemented, replicated and sustained within existing services for women living in all geographically isolated areas, as well as social and economic limitations,” said Tresillian CEO Mr Robert Mills.
If you are already seeking support from a Child Family Health and Aboriginal Maternal Infant Health clinician in Narrandera or Deniliquin area; at Tresillian in Murrumbidgee Family Care Centre (Wagga Wagga); and/or MLHD Mental Health Clinicians in Deniliquin and Narrandera, and you would like to be involved, please ask them about the research.
The MumMoodBooster online support for PND is also available outside the research project and can be accessed by anyone on the Mum Space website supporting the mental health and emotional wellbeing of pregnant women, new mums and their families: https://www.mumspace.com.au/online-treatments/ The project is a collaboration between CSU, PIRI in Victoria, Murrumbidgee and Western NSW LHDs, and Tresillian. Funding for the project is provided by NSW Health through their translational research grants, which aim to embed research evidence into clinical practice across NSW.
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