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Postpartum Depression: Faith-Based Health Promotion

By Mary Thomas


Postpartum depression (PPD) is experienced by 10%-15% of women per year and often goes under recognized by women and communities (CDC, 2008). It is the most serious of postpartum disorders and most common pregnancy-related illness. Women experiencing PPD may not seek help for multiple reasons, including, being unaware of the signs and symptoms, denial, fear, or guilt secondary to cultural stigmas. Untreated maternal PPD has been linked to attachment, cognitive, social and behavioral disorders in offspring. Additionally, research suggests that gene expression of offspring may be altered depending on the pre- and post-natal environment in relation to the development of future mental health disorders. The Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) indicated that 13.8% of women in Utah self-reported experiencing some range of PPD (IBIS-PH, 2013). With a significant population of women in Utah being affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), my aim was to design a faith-based health promotion program, which targeted the health needs of LDS women in relation to PPD. Faith-based organizations are a very effective setting for the development and implementation of disease prevention and health promotion and can reach a more broad population of individuals (Campbell et al., 2007; Hippolyte, Phillips-Caesar, Winston, Charlson, & Peterson, 2013). I designed an educational training and toolkit within a faith-based context for LDS church leaders. The LDS church has a very organized and structured leadership hierarchy in-place, which serves as an ideal platform to test a faith-based health promotion, train-the-trainer program. Through this project I hope to demonstrate an effective model of faith-based health promotion for all faith-based organizations throughout Utah, for promoting early identification, awareness and referral for women who suffer from PPD. To begin, I performed a needs assessment with the director of LDS Family Services. I then designed an educational training and toolkit for LDS church leaders, which I presented at a designated church leadership meeting of a local LDS congregation. I obtained pre- and post-surveys from each participant to evaluate the usefulness of the educational training and toolkit. Each church leader was provided an educational toolkit to be utilized as a guide within their community and reinforce the information taught at the training. I will disseminate the results of this project in poster format at the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) regional conference in Salt Lake City, UT, April 11th - 12th, 2014. PPD not only affects women and entire families. Through creating a faith-based health promotion tool targeting a dominant religious population in Utah, more women will be able to recognize signs and symptoms of PPD and utilize their support networks to seek appropriate health care and treatment. This will improve the health of women, families and communities

Topics: Advanced Practice Nursing; Education, Nursing, Graduate; Systems Analysis; Pregnancy; Depression, Postpartum; Postpartum Period; Signs and Symptoms; Health Promotion; Risk Assessment; Needs Assessment; Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice; Mental Health; Social Stigma; Guilt; Fear; Socioeconomic Factors; Referral and Consultation; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Culture
Publisher: Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah
Year: 2014
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