Adjusting an Available Online Peer Support Platform in a Program to Supplement the Treatment of Perinatal Depression and Anxiety.

Amit Baumel, Stephen M. Schueller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Perinatal depression and anxiety are common and debilitating conditions. Novel, cost effective services could improve the uptake and the impact of mental health resources among women who suffer from these conditions. E-mental health products are one example of such services. Many publically available e-mental health products exist, but these products lack validation and are not designed to be integrated into existing health care settings. Objective: The objective of the study was to present a program to use 7 Cups of Tea (7Cups), an available technological platform that provides online peer (ie, listener) based emotional support, to supplement treatment for women experiencing perinatal depression or anxiety and to summarize patient's feedback on the resultant program. Methods: This study consisted of two stages. First, five clinicians specializing in the treatment of perinatal mood disorders received an overview of 7Cups. They provided feedback on the 7Cups platform and ways it could complement the existing treatment efforts to inform further adjustments. In the second stage, nine women with perinatal depression or anxiety used the platform for a single session and provided feedback. Results: In response to clinicians' feedback, guidelines for referring patients to use 7Cups as a supplement for treatment were created, and a training program for listeners was developed. Patients found the platform usable and useful and their attitudes toward the trained listeners were positive. Overall, patients noted a need for support outside the scheduled therapy time and believed that freely available online emotional support could help meet this need. Most patients were interested in receiving support from first time mothers and those who suffered in the past from perinatal mood disorders. Conclusions: The study results highlight the use of 7Cups as a tool to introduce accessible and available support into existing treatment for women who suffer from perinatal mood disorders. Further research should focus on the benefits accrued from such a service. However, this article highlights how a publicly available eHealth product can be leveraged to create new services in a health care setting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Perinatology
  • Mental depression
  • Therapeutics
  • Anxiety
  • Postpartum depression
  • Medical care
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • online
  • peer
  • perinatal
  • postpartum
  • support

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