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Telephone based peer support can reduce postnatal depression in women at high risk

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Does telephone based mother to mother peer support help prevent postnatal depression in women who have recently given birth?


701 women identified at high risk of postnatal depression 2 weeks after childbirth (defined as Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) score >9). Women were identified through web based screening after routine contact by a public health nurse 24–48 h after hospital discharge. Exclusions: <18 years age; unable to speak English; not live birth; mother or baby not discharged from hospital; or currently taking antipsychotics or antidepressants.


Seven large health regions, Ontario, Canada; recruited from November 2004 to September 2006.


Telephone based peer support or standard community care (control). Telephone based peer support: new mothers were matched with a peer volunteer who was recruited from the community and had attended a 4 h training session to develop skills required to provide effective support and make referrals to health professionals when needed. Peer volunteers were provided with a 120 page training manual to take home and use as a reference. Matching was carried out by the Volunteer Coordinator who requested …

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  • Source of funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canada.


  • Competing interests: None.