David Bornstein argues that postpartum depression has been misunderstood:
Postpartum depressions are often assumed to be associated with hormonal changes in women. In fact, only a small fraction of them are hormonally based, said Cindy-Lee Dennis, a professor at the University of Toronto and a senior scientist at Women’s College Research Institute, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Perinatal Community Health. The misconception is itself a major obstacle, she adds. Postpartum depression is often not an isolated form of depression; nor is it typical. “We now consider depression to be a chronic condition,” Dennis says. “It reoccurs in approximately 30 to 50 percent of individuals. And a significant proportion of postpartum depression starts during the pregnancy but is not detected or treated to remission. We need to identify symptoms as early as possible, ideally long before birth.”
Regarding treatments, the following passage from Bornstein brings in a recent thread on telemedicine:
The third model grows out of Cindy-Lee Dennis’s research in Canada, and is important because it illustrates the potential of treating women through interventions over the phone. It thus reduces one of the biggest barriers low-income or rural women face in accessing treatment: transportation to and from treatment and scheduling appointments.
In one clinical trial, 700 women in the first two weeks after giving birth, who had been identified as being at a high risk of postpartum depression, were given telephone-based peer support from other mothers — volunteers from the community who had previously experienced and recovered from self-reported postpartum depression (and received four hours of training).
“We created a support network for the mothers early in the postpartum period,” Dennis explains. “It cut the risk of depression by 50 percent.” On average, each mother received just eight contacts — calls or messages, and the calls averaged 14 minutes. Over 80 percent of the mothers said they would recommend this support to a friend.