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Maternal and perinatal health - Course files

Postpartum depression: An overview of treatment and prevention

Elizabeth Corey, Shyam Thapa

From Research to Practice: Training Course in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research 2011

August 5, 2011 - Geneva

Postpartum depression: An overview of treatment and prevention - Elizabeth Corey, Shyam Thapa

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Corey E, Thapa S. Postpartum depression: An overview of treatment and prevention. Paper presented at: Training Course in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research; 2011 Aug 5; Geneva. Available from: https://www.gfmer.ch/SRH-Course-2011/maternal-health/Postpartum-depression-Corey-2011.htm

See also Postpartum depression: An overview of treatment and prevention - Elizabeth Corey, Shyam Thapa (presentation with audio)

Key reading materials

  • Araya R, Rojas G, Fritsch R, Gaete J, Rojas M, Simon G, Peters TJ. Treating depression in primary care in low-income women in Santiago, Chile: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2003 Mar 22;361(9362):995-1000.
  • Bolton P, Bass J, Neugebauer R, Verdeli H, Clougherty KF, Wickramaratne P, Speelman L, Ndogoni L, Weissman M. Group interpersonal psychotherapy for depression in rural Uganda: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2003 Jun 18;289(23):3117-3124.
  • Dhanda A, Narayan T. Mental health and human rights. Lancet. 2007 Oct 6;370(9594):1197-1198.
  • Engle PL. Maternal mental health: program and policy implications. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2009 Mar;89(3):963S-966S.
  • Fitelson E, Kim S, Baker AS, Leight K. Treatment of postpartum depression: clinical, psychological and pharmacological options. Int J Womens Health. 2010;31-14.
  • Kessler RC, Andrews G, Colpe LJ, Hiripi E, Mroczek DK, Normand SLT, Walters EE, Zaslavsky AM. Short screening scales to monitor population prevalences and trends in non-specific psychological distress. Psychol Med. 2002 Aug;32(6):959-976.
  • Nazareth I. Should men be screened and treated for postnatal depression? Expert Rev Neurother. 2011 Jan;11(1):1-3.
  • Patel V, Araya R, Chowdhary N, King M, Kirkwood B, Nayak S, Simon G, Weiss HA. Detecting common mental disorders in primary care in India: a comparison of five screening questionnaires. Psychol Med. 2008 Feb;38(2):221-228.
  • Patel V, Araya R, Bolton P. Treating depression in the developing world. Trop. Med. Int. Health. 2004 May;9(5):539-541.
  • Patel V, Chisholm D, Rabe-Hesketh S, Dias-Saxena F, Andrew G, Mann A. Efficacy and cost-effectiveness of drug and psychological treatments for common mental disorders in general health care in Goa, India: a randomised, controlled trial. Lancet. 2003 Jan 4;361(9351):33-39.
  • Rahman A, Iqbal Z, Harrington R. Life events, social support and depression in childbirth: perspectives from a rural community in the developing world. Psychol Med. 2003 Oct;33(7):1161-1167.
  • Rahman A, Malik A, Sikander S, Roberts C, Creed F. Cognitive behaviour therapy-based intervention by community health workers for mothers with depression and their infants in rural Pakistan: a cluster-randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2008 Sep 13;372(9642):902-909.
  • Rahman A, Patel V, Maselko J, Kirkwood B. The neglected “m” in MCH programmes--why mental health of mothers is important for child nutrition. Trop. Med. Int. Health. 2008 Apr;13(4):579-583.
  • Stewart DE, Robertson E, Dennis CL, Grace SL, Wallington T. Postpartum depression: Literature review of risk factors and interventions. Toronto Public Health, 2003.
  • Surkan PJ, Kennedy CE, Hurley KM, Black MM. Maternal depression and early childhood growth in developing countries: systematic review and meta-analysis. Bull. World Health Organ. 2011 Aug;89(8):608-615E.
  • World Health Organization. Maternal mental health and child health and development in low and middle income countries. Report of the WHO-UNFPA meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland. 30 January- 1 February 2008.


For those interested in the topic, you may choose from some of the tasks suggested below:

  • Review existing policies and programs, if any, in PPD in your country and prepare a summary.
  • Conduct a literature search on what research, if any, has been conducted in the country you are interested in and prepare a short summary of the findings.
  • Review the attached article on cognitive behavior therapy-based interventions by community health workers for mothers with depression, and prepare a commentary on what aspects of the interventions could be feasible and acceptable to implement as a pilot project in your own community.
  • Suppose you are planning to do a post-intervention evaluation only of the pilot project. Propose a plan for evaluation of what worked and what did not the community-based pilot project.
  • Consider conducting formative research in your community to determine local awareness of PPD, local terms used to describe PPD, and current treatment for PPD.