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Mental health support for moms when they need it

Mental illness is one of the most common complications of childbirth but as few as one in five women receive effective treatment. The reasons vary from stigma to barriers accessing care and a lack of comprehensive services that meet the needs of busy mothers.

 Dr. Simone Vigod, a scientist at Women’s College Research Institute, a psychiatrist, and the lead of the Reproductive Life Stages Program at Women’s College Hospital, is studying treatment methods and health system solutions to help women access mental health support when and where they need it. She uses her findings to develop better programs, like Mother Matters, an online support group for women with mood or adjustment challenges after the birth of their baby.

Dr. Vigod has developed an online patient decision aid to help women make difficult decisions about taking medications for depression or anxiety during pregnancy. She has also made these decisions easier with new evidence about the safety of antidepressants during pregnancy.

Her latest studies will continue to inform new treatments. For example, she is studying the genetics of postpartum depression through the Postpartum Depression: Action Towards Causes and Treatment (PPD ACT™) study, which she launched in Canada in 2017.

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