January 07, 2021
Google Steps Up to the Plate to Help People Who May Suffer From a Perinatal Mood Disorder
By: Sharon Muza, BS, LCCE, FACCE, CD/BDT(DONA), CLE | 2 Comments
Perinatal mood disorders affect one in seven people after they have given birth, and may even present anytime during the first two years after welcoming a child as well. Anxiety, depression or other mood disorders are the most common complication of pregnancy, with one in five people dealing with this concern.. This is why it is very important for childbirth educators to be discussing this topic during their classes, as it would not be unusual for someone (or several people) to be struggling even before they give birth. One in ten partners experience mood disorders associated with the birth of a baby and if the pregnant or postpartum person is struggling, the partner is more likely to be facing it too. A perinatal mood disorder can impact a person’s ability to parent and perform daily activities. If someone is significantly affected, their own safety and the safety of their children may be a concern.
Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic has added another layer of significant stress and overwhelm to the feelings and emotions that people feel during the childbearing year. Financial and employment insecurity, isolation, an increase in Telehealth visits rather than traditional face to face time with providers, limited access to family and friends, and increased concerns about getting sick while pregnant or caring for a new baby all increase the risk that someone might experience a pregnancy or postpartum mood disorder. 78% of pregnant and new parents report an increase in stress directly related to the current COVID situation
Google is stepping up to the plate with a tool to help! According to the most recent statistics, 75% of all internet searches are performed using the Google Search engine. Google has announced that they are committed to highlighting and providing specific information and screening tools when someone uses their search engine to search on the topics of perinatal mood disorders. It has been demonstrated that screening tools such as the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) increase the likelihood of a person seeking treatment and receiving a perinatal mood disorder diagnosis A screening tool helps to clarify the feelings and emotions that the parent is experiencing and provides an opportunity for them to reach out for professional treatment and support. This is the fourth mental health self-assessment directly available from Google Search. Previously, people who searched for information about anxiety, depression and PTSD were directed to screening tools. Now perinatal mood disorder screening tools will be provided too.
When a person uses the EPDS screening tool as a result of their Google search, their answers are confidential, secure and private. When an individual or their support person, puts in common search terms on perinatal mood disorders in the Google Search field, Google highlights the EPDS screening tool and information and resources collated in collaboration with the US Office of Women’s Health and national mental health organizations. People can take the EPDS quiz right there on line and their results are “scored” and suggest whether they may be experiencing a perinatal mood disorder. Further information is provided during and after the quiz is completed, including links to helpful hotlines and websites that provide additional resources.
Pregnancy and postpartum mood disorders are common for people welcoming a baby into their family. Too often, these issues are not acknowledged as being a problem and are not taken seriously. Many people suffer without knowing that there is accessible help to deal with these perinatal mental health concerns, which are more widespread than they realize. Now, searchers using Google will easily be directed to a private self assessment and find resources that can offer help and support for treatment for any perinatal mood disorders they may experiencing.
I encourage you to try it yourself! Use the search terms that your families might use and give it a spin! You will notice that no matter your geographic area, the resources and link to the self assessment established by Google come up in a sidebar on my desktop and also easily accessible on a mobile device.
JL Cox, JM Holden, R Sagovsky. Detection of Postnatal Depression: Development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. 150: Br J Psychiatry 782-786. 1987.
Georgiopoulos AM, Bryan TL, Wollan P, Yawn BP. Routine screening for postpartum depression. J Fam Pract. 2001 Feb;50(2):117-22. Erratum in: J Fam Pract 2001 May;50(5):470. PMID: 11219558.
Levis, B., Negeri, Z., Sun, Y., Benedetti, A., & Thombs, B. D. (2020). Accuracy of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) for screening to detect major depression among pregnant and postpartum women: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. bmj, 371.
Misri, S., Kostaras, X., Fox, D., & Kostaras, D. (2000). The impact of partner support in the treatment of postpartum depression. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 45(6), 554-558.
TagsPerinatal Depression Google Postpartum Mood Disorders PMAD Sharon Muza PMADs Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Tool