Research has shown that the stress of daily life, especially during pregnancy and childbirth, can affect the thinking and attitude of many mothers, making it difficult to meet the multiple demands of child-care1. An intervention for women in this situation can be very effective since research has shown that with the right support, the vast majority of mothers can change these negative patterns into very effective patterns for the optimal development of the baby2.
In low and middle income countries, approximately 20% of mothers suffer from postpartum depression3. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends integrated and responsive social and mental health care, as well as the application of promotion and prevention strategies to address this issue3.
Partners in Health Peru implemented the WHO’s Thinking Healthy program as a pilot in pregnant women of the Maternal and Child Health Program to receive comprehensive care from the third trimester of pregnancy and with the support of Community Health Agents.
- Thinking Healthy is an evidence-based intervention that addresses priority mental health conditions, such as perinatal depression.
- It uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy strategies to bring about changes in the symptoms and functioning of mothers.
- It can be administered by community health agents (who have a similar role to community health workers) as it does not require prior knowledge of mental health care or specialized experience in the field.
- Thinking Healthy helps to change unhealthy ways of thinking through the use of images and can help the person to modify their image in a more positive or positive way
- Three areas are considered: personal health, the mother's relationship with the baby and the relationship of the mother with her environment
- The duration of the intervention is 16 sessions and it works from the third trimester of pregnancy to 10 months after the birth of the baby