Jan 08, 2018

Postpartum Depression Screening in a Community-Based Sample of Mothers

Visiting WIC Clinics – North Carolina, 2017

In Collaboration with: Maren J. Coffman, PhD, RN, CNE

Problem Statement: Post-partum depression is a common condition impacting 3 million (7% of) women with infants in the U.S every year. The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of the prevalence of post-partum depression (PPD) among mothers visiting WIC clinics in Mecklenburg County Public Health, and provide referrals for women experiencing depression symptoms. A secondary purpose was to understand the motives and barriers for seeking treatment, and the support systems that mothers find most useful.

Approach: Mothers with infants under 1 year of age were screened for depression risk and depressive symptomatology using the Patient Health Questionnaire 2 (PHQ2). Mothers who scored ³ 2 on the PHQ2 were then asked to complete two additional screening tools: the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ9) and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. If indicated, the mother was referred for case management services. A follow up survey was collected 3 to 4 weeks after the initial survey to assess treatment outcomes.

Products/Outcome: Surveys have been collected in two WIC clinics (n = 122; 60% in English and 40% in Spanish). According to preliminary results, 20% of mothers screened were at risk for post-partum depression (PHQ2 ³ 2, history of depression). Eight mothers completed the PHQ9 and Edinburgh, and 6 of those were at risk for clinical depression. Referrals were made to a case manager to provide support, assess the health of the infant, and refer to clinical services. Screening is ongoing and future participants will be offered a $25 gift card to complete the survey.

Implications: Early detection and treatment has been shown to improve outcomes for both the mother and the child. Women who participate in WIC may be at higher risk for post-partum depression, and screening is essential in order to identify those with depressive symptoms. This project demonstrates the importance of identifying women at risk, providing treatment options, and understanding support systems.