Research Project Seeks to Combat Depression Among New Mothers

Researchers at the Yale University Child Study Center are planning a pilot study that will use a smartphone app to combat depression among new mothers. The app, called Momba, will develop a network of pregnant women and new mothers from low-income neighborhoods in areas near the university. Participants in the program will be given a smartphone with Internet capability and access to the Momba network.

Participants in the Momba network will be able to post their latest activities and other community news, “check-in” at locations, and map nearby health and mental health services. The app will also suggest age-appropriate activities for infants, connect users with national experts in family health and social service, and incorporate rewards for extended participation.

The application is under development and the pilot project to test its effectiveness in combating depression is scheduled to begin sometime next year. The project is supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health, the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, and the Children’s Fund of Connecticut.

The principal investigator on the project is Megan V. Smith, as assistant professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Smith explains the project’s goals by stating, “Isolation is a large contributor to maternal depression. New mothers may be more prone to social isolation as they care for their infant and themselves. Our aim is to use a web-based network to increase the social connectedness of mothers and provide access to critical resources.”

Dr. Smith is a graduate of Amherst College. She holds a master’s degree from the Yale School of Public Health and a doctorate in public health from Boston University.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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