A recent study (as in February/March 2016, hot off the press) “Identifying Maternal Depression in Pediatric Primary Care: Changes Over a Decade” concluded that less than half of pediatricians screen or ask about maternal depression. This is a missed opportunity if you ask me. What provider does a new mother typically see more than any other provider? Her child’s pediatrician! The pediatrician can detect a perinatal mood and/or anxiety disorder and refer women for evidence-based psychological care. OK, so note to self, start to chat with more pediatricians in Tucson to see how I can provide education and/or services. And, of course, I am sure there is more to the picture and I have a lot to learn.
So then the article suggests that more training is needed to help understand how crucial a mother’s mental health is to the development of her children. Isn’t this so obvious?? What is the possible argument against this? I can totally help people understand that link. Oh yes.
The silver lining…..perhaps the good news is that between 2004 (N=457) and 2013 (N=321) the prevalence of pediatricians asking or screening for maternal depression went up from 33% to 44%. Still a ways to go but it is important to celebrate successes along the way, right?
Citation: Kerker, B.D. et al. (2016). Identifying Maternal Depression in Pediatric Primary Care: Changes Over a Decade. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 37(2): 113-120.