Motivational Interviewing Improves Help-seeking For Postnatal Depression and Anxiety

PIRI conducted a study in collaboration with Maternal and Child Health Services in the Cities of Banyule, Whittlesea and Moonee Valley, to examine whether a brief Motivational Interviewing (MI) intervention delivered by Maternal and Child Health Nurses (MCHNs) during routine postnatal visits improves help-seeking following childbirth.

In this study, 27.4% of women experienced emotional distress over the 12 months post-birth, however, the odds of seeking help were 4 times higher for those who received Motivational Interviewing than for those who received routine care. Of the women who sought help from a psychologist, 47.6% in the MI condition attended 6+ sessions, compared with only 20.0% in the Routine Care condition, suggesting better adherence to treatment in the MI condition.

There was a non-significant trend of lower depression, anxiety and stress in the MI condition. In both the MI and Routine Care conditions, women found the discussions they had with their MCHN about their emotional well-being to be helpful.

These results suggest that treatment uptake for postnatal distress can be increased with a brief MI intervention delivered by MCHNs. Results showed that training MCHNs in MI was feasible and valued.

We would like to thank the MCHNs in the Cities of Banyule, Whittlesea and Moonee Valley who participated in this study. A paper reporting the results of this study in full has been submitted for publication.the word baby and clothespins on a white background old,rustic