Web-enabled intervention option for BC women with postpartum depression

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Madison Lackie, a Masters student working with Dr Lori Brotto and the UBC Sexual Health Laboratory, is part of a team working on creating a treatment program for women with postpartum depression (PPD).  Her work is part of a multiphase research project, involving the creation, feasibility testing, and eventual widespread implementation of a web-enabled intervention option for PPD, using evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy (a leading treatment option).

“PPD affects a relatively large proportion of new mothers, and the rates of PPD are even greater in women in higher risk populations,” Madison explains.  “For example, Aboriginal women have five times the risk of developing PPD compared to the average Canadian woman.”  With this in mind, the team hopes to create a treatment program based primarily on the population of British Columbia, with a particular focus on the specific needs of Aboriginal and immigrant women.

Our province’s most vulnerable women often face the greatest barriers to access of healthcare, and especially healthcare which specializes in treating more complicated health issues, such as PPD.  These barriers inspired the need for a treatment option that could “be completed from anywhere and by anyone,” and which could “provide a great resource for physicians across the province,” Madison says.

Though the project remains in its early stages, the team has secured a partnership with a local application and web-technology development firm to assist in the creation of the online web-based platform.  It will likely take a few years for the program to be approved as a treatment option to be used in clinical practice, although the team hopes to have the platform ready for efficacy trials by 2019.

“We hope that the outcomes of this project will provide an evidence-based, effective, culturally safe and sensitive, and economical treatment option for women suffering from PPD across the province, and will allow women in even the most rural communities to access quality care in a timely manner,” Madison says.