UK researchers identified 418 women from over 100 general practices in England who had postnatal depression six weeks after giving birth
The women then received either intervention from a health visitor trained to identify depressive symptoms, or usual care.
Those in the intervention group also received hour-long psychological therapy sessions from the health visitor for eight weeks, based on either cognitive behavioural therapy or person-centred principles.
The researchers found that – six months after giving birth – 46% of the women in the control group still had post natal depression, compared to just 34% of those in the intervention group.
‘This trial provides new evidence of the effectiveness of a package of training for health visitors to identify symptoms of depression postnatally and to provide psychologically informed sessions,’ they said online in the BMJ.