Responding to the challenge of adolescent perinatal depression
Adolescents experience a number of major neurobiological, hormonal, physical, and psychological changes, which present important risks to their health and well-being. Pregnancy compounds this experience for adolescents, and society’s expectations often add further pressures well beyond those experienced by the average pregnant adult. However, health systems are not attuned to the particular care needs of pregnant adolescents. Evidence shows that a critical gap exists in the management of perinatal adolescent depression, a condition that brings significant long-lasting consequences for both the mother and the infant.
Through this project, researchers will complement their ongoing work in maternal mental health by addressing the critical knowledge gap regarding the mental health needs of adolescents. Specifically, they will develop and evaluate an intervention program for adolescent perinatal depression, and determine the factors required for its integration in the delivery of routine primary care. They will collaborate with the Nigerian National Mental Health Action Committee to promote the uptake of their findings into policies and practices related to the management of perinatal depression. This work will contribute to the much-needed body of evidence on how to develop policies and scale up programs for integrated adolescent mental health care in Nigeria and beyond.
The project will build on the established partnership between the University of Ibadan (Nigeria) and McGill University (Canada). By focusing on adolescent mental health, it addresses an important under-researched and strategic niche area in maternal and neonatal health.
This project is funded by the Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa program. It is a seven-year $36 million initiative funded by Global Affairs Canada, IDRC, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.