Online 1-Day Cognitive Behavioural Therapy-Based Workshops for Postpartum Depression

Van Lieshout, Ryan J | $199,567

Ontario McMaster University 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

Postpartum depression (PPD) affects up to 1 in 5 women and is associated with costs of $150,000 per case over the lifespan. Under normal conditions, just 1 in 10 women with PPD get evidence-based treatment, a situation that has worsened substantially during COVID-19. The pandemic has also significantly increased women’s exposure to factors that worsen PPD (e.g., more responsibilities at home, increased isolation, loneliness, life stress and partner conflict). While social distancing measures reduce COVID‑19 spread, they have made it more difficult for women to access protective influences such as medical care and social and practical support. Innovative interventions capable of reaching large numbers of women safely are urgently needed to reduce the adverse effects of PPD on women, their partners, and their children. The purpose of this study is to test the effectiveness of a self-referred Online 1-Day CBT-Based Workshop for PPD. We will conduct a Canada-wide randomized controlled trial where 264 women will be recruited to receive either the Online 1-Day CBT-Based Workshop right away (treatment group) or be put on a waitlist to receive the workshop 6 weeks later (waitlist control group). We will compare the effect of these Online 1-Day Workshops on levels of maternal depression and anxiety, women’s relationships with their partner, and mother-infant attachment in the treatment and waitlist control groups. We will also assess the cost-effectiveness of the intervention. Only interventions that are safe and that can be rolled out on a large scale can have a significant positive impact on PPD at the population level during the COVID‑19 pandemic. To achieve this objective, a shift is needed toward treatments that can reach large numbers of women safely and efficiently. Self-referred Online 1-Day CBT-Based Workshops reduce many of the barriers to treatment that currently exist, and can help women and families immediately both in Canada and around the world.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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