Improving Home Visitor Response to Postpartum Depression

Transforming how home visiting programs can support Wisconsin mothers experiencing depression symptoms

Full Project Name:Improving Home Visitor Response to Postpartum DepressionPrimary Community Organization:Children's Hospital of WisconsinPrimary Academic Partner:Christina Wichman, DO, Psychiatry and Behavioral MedicineAward Amount:$147,951
Award Date
January2014
Project Duration:27 months

Project Description Narrative:


Across the U.S., home visiting has increasingly been recognized as important and effective service strategy for strengthening families with young children. However, home visitors have expressed challenges in supporting mothers with depression symptoms despite receiving brief training on the topic of maternal depression.

Aiming to transform the way home visitors support mothers experiencing depression symptoms, project partners will develop and test a research-based, evidence-informed treatment plan algorithm and the tools and resources to support its use in the field. In addition, partners will evaluate how home visiting programs connect with mental health resources to better understand and pilot innovative ways to create mental health resource connections in the absence of providers in a given community.

Community partners:
Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee College of Nursing

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:


• Developed and finalized a treatment plan algorithm and training curriculum, piloting with 49 home visitors and program managers through three training sessions across the state

• Conducted focus group with home visitors and program managers who participated in the pilot training sessions to guide full implementation and future study

• Secured a sustainability arrangement with UW-Milwaukee Helen Bader School of Social Welfare to incorporate the training into their twice annual offerings of training home visiting programs and child welfare workers

• Integrated full six-hour algorithm training into the 2016 ZERO TO THREE National Training Institute offerings • Presented project at various association meetings such as Wisconsin's Fulfilling the Promising Conference for Home Visitors and Midwest Nursing Research Society, and published an article in ZERO TO THREE

• Leveraged $50,000 from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to support planning for a Perinatal Psychiatric Consultation Program to incorporate access to MCW Department of Psychiatry experts

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