Motherhood is viewed as a time of joy, but many women feel isolated because of mental health problems. Each year in Australia, more than 1-in-7 women experience depression and anxiety after the birth of a baby, and up to 1-in-10 during pregnancy. Experts agree that women need more assistance to manage the expectations and pressures of early motherhood.
A leading group of Australian maternal and perinatal mental health experts has met this need by developing an innovative app to fill the gap in mental health services for pregnant women and new mothers. MindMum is an evidence-based app that helps new mums and mums-to-be to manage stress and anxiety, lift mood, strengthen relationships, and feel supported and more confident during the first few months of motherhood.
It has been developed by the Perinatal Depression eConsortium (PDeC), a group led by the Parent-Infant Research Institute (PIRI) and also includes Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA), Queensland University of Technology, Monash University and Jean Hailes for Women's Health. It is supported by the Australian Government.
"Our main message to new mums who are struggling is that help is available," says Prof. Jeannette Milgrom, Director of PIRI.
"This app is a great entry point to find that help quickly. We know that mothers who use the app see it as a great first step to getting help. They told us that it's easy to use, and the interactive activities are really helpful."
Mothers who are already using the app like how it reinforces good moments while providing reassurance and simple solutions to use on the not-so-good days. "It was great to get reminders of the little things you've achieved," says Lydia, a new mum. "If I needed ideas or was getting overwhelmed I would definitely just go to the app."
MindMum is part of the online hub MumSpace, a one-stop website (www.mumspace.com.au) supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of pregnant women, new mums and their families in a stepped model of care. Women can step up to treatment for anxiety and depression with MumMoodBooster, or down to essential resources for all new mums and dads through two other evidence-based resources What Were We Thinking! And Baby Steps.
Women can use the MindMum app at any time or any place on their mobile device. It's a free download from the Apple app store or Google play and through the MumSpace website.