May 2021 –Survey findings from the Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative (CPMHC) show a vital need for a national perinatal mental health strategy to address gaps in screening and treatment, particularly now that rates of postpartum depression have doubled in the context of the pandemic.
The full survey results will be revealed during a live online press conference on May 5th, 2021 (World Maternal Mental Health Day) at 11 am ET featuring the CPMHC along with Alberta MP Heather McPherson, Ontario MPP Bhutila Karpoche, and mom, Candice Thomas who will share her experience of giving birth during a pandemic.
The CPMHC report, Time For Action, containing recommendations for government on how to improve perinatal mental health care in Canada will be also be released on May 5th during the morning session (10:30 am – Noon) of a joint Ludmer Center/CPMHC virtual online symposium. A review of perinatal mental health best practices from Dr. Alain Grégoire, Dr. Simone Vigod, and others will follow in the afternoon (12:30 pm – 2 pm). Register to attend here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/improving-perinatal-mental-health-care-in-canada-tickets-147986448451
Critical survey findings include:
- 8% of health care practitioners believe that perinatal mental health services are insufficient in Canada;
- 87% of health care practitioners in Canada do not have mandated screening for perinatal mental illness at their workplace;
- When people are screened and have symptoms indicative of needing intervention, 27% of health care practitioners indicated that patients were able to access their referral within a month, 31% waited between 1-2 months, while 42% had to wait for >2 months for access;
- Perinatal mental health services differ across health regions. More than half of health care practitioners surveyed (57.3%) reported that they have not received specialized training in Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders or were unsure if they received specialized training.
- 87% of practitioners believe people from diverse backgrounds encounter barriers to accessing perinatal services. These include language, cultural, and cost barriers.
- 69% of practitioners reported that COVID-19 has complicated access to care, including reduced in-person visits and overall services.
Dr Tuong-Vi Nguyen
PI, Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics & Mental Health