Maternal mental illness has a profound impact on all aspects of a mother’s life and affects her infant, other children and partner. Depression during the postpartum period is estimated to affect up to 15% of mothers. Postpartum Depression (PPD) screening standardization was identified as a priority in the Government of Alberta’s Valuing Mental Health Strategy.
In 2013, to support this priority, Healthy Children and Families in partnership with Addiction and Mental Health established a multi-sectoral, multidisciplinary provincial governance structure to complete the policy process. In collaboration with provincial and zone stakeholders, physicians and the public, the Alberta Health Services (AHS) Public Health PPD Policy Suite was developed to facilitate a standardized nursing assessment, opportunistic screening, referral and surveillance within public health at the first regular Well Child Clinic (WCC) visit.
A comprehensive evaluation is planned for one year post implementation.
The AHS Public Health PPD Policy Suite came into effect March 6, 2019. This Policy Suite replaces all legacy policies, guidelines, protocols and zone specific health care provider educational modules.
Postpartum Depression Screening & Referral in Public Health: eLearning Module is available to all Public Health Nurses in AHS, on MyLearningLink through the internal AHS website. AHS employees with a MyLearningLink account can also remotely access MyLearningLink through the external portal on ahs.ca/staff.
For a list of programs and services available in your zone and resources for families visit ahs.ca/ppd.
Healthcare professionals providing care for mothers at risk, or mothers who may be experiencing postpartum depression, can order free copies of the Family Support Plan for distribution via Data Group. These resources are available in English, Arabic, French, Italian, Punjabi, Spanish, Traditional Chinese and Vietnamese.
Order: Data Group
User ID: healthypublic
Search: Family Support Plan
Copies are also available for download and print from the Healthy Parents, Healthy Children website - Mental health during pregnancy and postpartum