Post-natal depression can be avoided with the help of health visitors
A report has revealed that new mums who receive psychological support from health visitors who have received additional training are less likely to develop post-natal depression.
The report details a study which was conducted by teams from Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield universities and involved following more than 2,000 women following childbirth.
All participants came from 101 primary care teams in the trent area of England and they were monitored for a period of 18 months.
1,500 of the women received support from a health visitor who had recently received additional training and 767 of the women received care from a normal health care visitor.
All participants had shown no warning signs of depression six weeks after the birth of their child which was when the study began.
Results showed that the participants who had received care from a health care visitor with additional mental health training stood a 30% reduced risk of developing depression six months after child birth compared with the other group of women who received normal care.
The research team attempted to repeat their research in other areas of the country but found they were unable to due to a substantial reduction in the number of health visitors funded by the NHS. In addition to this, in many areas health visitors were not able to take the time off needed to complete extra training.
A spokesman from the Department of Health said: “The government has committed to increasing the number of health visitors and to focusing Sure Start to ensure that all families get high quality services.
“We are working with the profession and NHS to improve health visiting services for all families, including additional care packages where needed.”