Online support proves valuable for new mums

New research into online therapy program, MUMentum Postnatal, has shown that it is an effective way to support women with postnatal anxiety and depression and can provide more opportunities to get help during this critical time.
06 November 2020
MUMentum Postnatal is an online self-guided form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that, when delivered face-to-face is usually recommended for the treatment of mild to moderate postpartum anxiety and/or depression. 

The trial was conducted throughout 2018 and included 131 women from Sydney, Australia who completed one lesson every one-to-two weeks, for a period of up to six-weeks.

St John of God Burwood Hospital Perinatal Psychiatrist and head of mother-baby unit Professor Marie-Paule Austin co-authored the study.  

“We know that maternal anxiety and depression is common during the first 12 months after childbirth and that between 10 to 15 percent of mothers are likely to meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder or Major Depressive Disorder, said Professor Austin.

“Online therapy programs such as MUMemtum Postnatal can overcome barriers that limit access and engagement with traditional face-to-face treatment such as waiting lists, out-of-pocket expenses, geographical distance, logistical issues and the stigmas associated with seeking help.

“Such online programs are important for new mums who have additional barriers to obtaining help and particularly with the social isolation and increased reliance of online services that we have experienced throughout 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Professor Austin said that online therapy was not a replacement for traditional care but was an opportunity to extend the reach past what is currently available in clinics and the private mental health sector.

“Online therapy is not always the complete solution to postnatal depression and anxiety but a first step intervention and potentially a pathway to identifying a need for seeking further assistance if required, Professor Austin said.  

“We saw that the online program was particularly effective for the treatment of postpartum anxiety, which can evolve into depression if left untreated.

“There is still a need for acute in-hospital care and services such as the Mother Baby Unit at St John of God Burwood Hospital in Sydney, NSW that can provide complete care to the family unit for those that require it.” 

Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA) week is recognised from 8-14 November to raise awareness about perinatal anxiety and depression, including the signs to look for and where to go to seek support.

If you are concerned about your emotional wellbeing or that of your loved one, speak to your GP who can provide advice and referral for treatment if needed
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