29 Dec Phone Support Can Help Ease Postpartum Depression, Study Suggests
(Reuters Health) – Phone support can help ease postpartum depression, a small study suggests, offering an option for mothers who are unable or unwilling to seek therapy in person.
In the study, women with postpartum depression received telephone counseling from other women who had previously suffered from the disorder and recovered. The new moms found that the conversations helped relieve symptoms.
“Postpartum depression is a problem for one in seven women, and many of them don’t get help because there’s a stigma and they don’t have time and it’s expensive,” said study leader Dr. Nicole Letourneau, a professor and research chair in parent-infant mental health at the University of Calgary. “Training peer counselors to do phone counseling is an effective, low-cost and non-stigmatizing way for new moms to get the help they need.”
Particularly for first-time mothers, postpartum depression can be hard to distinguish from the stress and fatigue that come with caring for a new infant around the clock, Letourneau said. Symptoms can include sadness, insomnia, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, feelings of shame or guilt, as well as difficulty bonding with the baby or thoughts about harming the baby.
To assess the effectiveness of phone counseling for easing these symptoms, Letourneau and colleagues identified 64 mothers with symptoms of major depression within 24 months after delivery and offered them up to 12 weekly peer support calls.
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