Two studies aimed at looking into ways of preventing women developing postnatal depression have had encouraging results. The first study, by researchers at the University of Huddersfield, compared 2,749 women who were supported by health visitors trained in cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) or person-centred therapy to 1335 women who received conventional health-visitor care. After six months the women who had received extra support from the health visitors had lower scores for depression and these benefits were maintained after a year. In another study researchers from the University of Toronto looked at the benefits of telephone support provided by volunteers who had experienced and recovered from postnatal depression. 701 women at high risk of developing postnatal depression were divided into two groups. One group received telephone support while the other group received the usual care given to vulnerable new mothers. By the end of the 12-week study only 14% of people in the peer support group were showing symptoms of depression compared to 25% in the care-as-usual group.
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