Australian psychologists have made a world-first breakthrough in the battle against depression.
New research from Macquarie University found that a targeted two-hour online session can be more beneficial in some instances than a standard program.
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The trial found that two months after the short session, symptoms associated with depression were reduced by 31 per cent, while symptoms associated with anxiety were down by 37 per cent.
That’s considered to be a better outcome than the general eight-week program.
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“Helping them see the connections between their thoughts and feelings and behaviours, can help reduce those symptoms,” Madelyne Bisby from Macquarie University said.
The program uses cognitive behaviour therapy through an online format.
By making it online and shorter, Bisby said, it is more accessible.
The ultimate aim is to make it the normal practice.
“So they can actually access CBT in a way that might have otherwise been inaccessible to them because it is shorter,” she said.
“If they do, it has the potential to reduce waiting times, and ultimately reduce the burden of mental health.”
During her pregnancy, Sydney woman Katherine Christie said she’d never felt more alone. Credit: 7NEWS
The scientific trial comes alongside new research on new mums’ mental health.
Mums doing it tough
According to a recent survey conducted by pregnancy brand Pure Mama, 93 per cent of women felt a sense of fear or anxiety during their pregnancy.
Only one-quarter felt their mental health was supported.
More than 80 per cent said they were anxious about their body changing during pregnancy, and only 20 per cent felt good about their body postpartum.
Sydney woman Katherine Christie wants to shine a light on the statistics after suffering from anxiety and depression while pregnant with her first baby boy.
“I had the lowest of lows that I’ve ever experienced in my life,” she said.
“I didn’t get out of bed for two days at one stage, which is when I realised something was not right.”
According to a recent survey conducted by pregnancy brand Pure Mama, 93 per cent of women felt a sense of fear or anxiety during their pregnancy. Credit: 7NEWS
Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) CEO Julie Borninkhof said the results were not surprising.
She said expectant parents were often confused by feelings of stress and anxiety, especially when societal expectations suggest pregnancy should be a joyous time.
“On average, 28 per cent of callers to PANDA’s Helpline are expecting parents,” Borninkhof said.
“But we know that many more wonder if their feelings are normal.
“It’s really important that expecting parents reach out for support early — whether that’s to PANDA, or someone else in their community of care.”
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