Women open to using online counseling to treat postpartum depression


According to new research, moms suffering from postpartum depression after a high-risk pregnancy would be willing to turn to online interventions if available anonymously and from professional healthcare providers.

Postpartum depression is a moderate to severe type of depression that can occur after a woman has had a baby. It affects about 7 to 15 percent of new mothers. The depression can emerge right away or as long as a year after the delivery.

Time constraints, stigma are reasons moms don’t get help

This new research found that many women don’t seek counseling because of the time constraints of caring for a newborn as well as the stigma of having a mental illness like depression.

“Mothers cannot always find a sitter and then spend time driving to and from counseling,” explained Judith Maloni, PhD, RN, FAAN, and lead investigator. “An online intervention is available when the moms have time.”

Moms looking to the web for convenience, anonymity

Respondents to the survey were found from four popular websites for new mothers. They told researchers that they would welcome a resource that was anonymous and offered professional advice that did not require medication.

The 53 mothers who fit the study’s criteria exhibited complications from their pregnancies and felt depressed the week before the study began. They were ethnically diverse, from many regions of the U.S. and had an average age of 32.

This was the first study to seek information from new moms who were reaching out to online sources for help. Many had suffered silently with postpartum depression but were looking for assistance through the internet.

Respondents said they would welcome help from an online source that was available any time. They were also interested in learning strategies to cope, information about depression and chat rooms.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Archives of Psychiatric Nursing


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