Online program helps female vets manage postpartum depression

A University of Iowa researcher is reporting positive results from an online program to help female veterans cope with postpartum depression.

The online intervention, called MomMoodBooster, is funded by the Veterans Affairs Department's Office of Rural Health and the VA Office of Women's Health Services, according to an announcement.

The program requires women to participate in six weekly sessions that target managing mood, increasing pleasant activities, managing negative thoughts, increasing positive thoughts and planning for the future. Coaches also call to check in with the women and track their progress. Forty women from across the country have taken part in the program so far.

Michael O'Hara, professor and Starch Faculty Fellow in the UI Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, said in the announcement that women living in rural areas often don't seek help or have access to mental health services. Female veterans also might be more prone to depression, though that has not been documented.

The program will continue at least through the end of September, when the VA will determine whether to continue funding, according to the announcement.

A study from the VA Connecticut Health Care System in West Haven, Connecticut, found a high level of veteran interest in computerized psychotherapies. In a separate study, telemedicine-based psychotherapy was found effective for veterans in rural areas suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Meanwhile, Baptist Health Medical Center-Arkadelphia in Arkansas offers real-time access to certified lactation consultants through iPads at a new mother's bedside.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- check out the tool