As well as ORIGINS long-term core research, there are a number of clinical trials, early interventions and shorter-term research studies that sit within ORIGINS. Known as sub-projects, these studies look at multiple aspects of child and family health and development.
New Study ‘Plugs’ Digital Intervention for Perinatal Mental Health
ORIGINS participant interacting with digital mental health intervention software.
A new study has revealed the key drivers for successful digital mental health interventions for pregnant women, providing clarity for app developers and encouraging digital mental health support for women during and post pregnancy.
The mixed methods study led by Jacqueline Davis, was undertaken to provide a basis for the use of digital programs to improve mental wellbeing in perinatal women.
Published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the study aimed to document participants’ experiences in the Mums Minds Matter (MMM) study, which compared mindfulness, loving-kindness and compassion, and progressive muscle relaxation training all delivered in a digital format.
The findings provided insight on what would make successful digital interventions through a platform such as an app, highlighting the ability to choose topics, daily reminders, case studies and diversity in sounds as notable success points. The study found frequent prompts or nudges was a key strategy in targeting perinatal women.
The study is the latest in a string of discoveries to come out of The ORIGINS Project, a collaboration between Telethon Kids Institute and Joondalup Health Campus that is following 10,000 children for over a decade to improve child and adult health. It is the largest program of its kind in Australia.
Ms Davis said psychological distress in the early postpartum period can have a long-lasting effect on a mother’s wellbeing and can negatively affect her infant’s development.
“Poor mental health in perinatal women is incredibly common and there is much more that can be done to prevent it and to give women positive coping tools. Digital intervention is a tool that has the potential to widely benefit these women as it is widely available and cost-effective,” said Ms Davis.
“The purpose of this study was to identify ways future app designs can be improved to maximise the uptake, engagement and application of positive mental health skills during and in the period following a women’s pregnancy.”
Ms Davis and her team aim to explore the area of digital mental health intervention for pregnant and postnatal women further, with the intention of developing targeted tools for different population groups.
“These findings create a strong basis for future studies in testing the feasibility of digital apps on perinatal women. My hope is one day simple, easy to use tools will be provided to women as regular training, irrespective of if they are struggling, in the hope that this will prevent mental health problems and develop effective coping skills.”
The study can be accessed at https://www.jmir.org/2023/1/e46852
Ms Davis will be available for an interview and photo upon request.