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Supporter FAQ's

What is PND
What is the purpose of the study
Why have I been selected to take part in the study
Do I have to take part
What would taking part in the study involve

Who would know about me taking part in the study
What are the benefits of taking part

What are the risks of taking part
What would happen to the information I provided during the interview
What will happen to the results of the research study
Who is organising and funding the research
Who has reviewed the study
What if I want further information about the study

What is PND

Postnatal depression (PND) is a condition affecting around 13% of women following childbirth. It produces symptoms such as feeling sad, confused, unable to sleep, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Research has shown that psychological factors such as feeling isolated, lack of an intimate friend, and low self-esteem are important contributing factors. PND has important health consequences for the mother and the development of the baby.

What is the purpose of the study

The aim of this study is to pilot a telephone peer support intervention for PND, and to test its feasibility and impact in the UK. The intervention is based on a programme that has been developed and evaluated in Canada consisting of a telephone support service delivered by specially trained peer supporters (mothers who have recovered from PND). This has shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of depression among mothers experiencing postnatal depression.

We have conducted a qualitative study in West Midlands with GPs, health visitors and women who have recovered from PND to explore their views about the need for such an intervention, and the findings showed that the proposed telephone service was perceived to be of potential benefit.

Why have I been selected to take part in the study

You have been asked to take part in this study because you have recovered from PND.

Do I have to take part

It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. This information is provided to help you to make that decision. Even if you decided to take part, you would still be free to withdraw at any time and would not have to give a reason. This would not affect the care you received from your GP practice. Your doctor would not be upset if you decided not to take part.

What would taking part in the study involve

We are looking for women who have recovered from PND to deliver the telephone support service to women currently experiencing PND. You need to have an empathic and non-judgmental disposition and be able to commit the time to participate in the training and provide the telephone support. The training would take 2 days and would be provided by the nationally recognised Centre for Parent and Child Support. The training would be provided locally and Crèche facilities will be available.

The telephone support service would be delivered over a period of 4 months in the first part of the study, and over a period of 4 months in the 2nd part of the study (the times of the calls will be arranged between you and the mother experiencing PND). You would be provided with ongoing support from the trainers and a health visitor throughout the telephone support period.

With your permission, some of the telephone calls would be tape-recorded to help us understand what is useful within support calls.

To allow us to see what effect providing this support has on you, you will also be asked to fill in a brief questionnaire before, during and after the study.

At the end of each study (i.e. after 4 months) a researcher may telephone you to ask you some questions about how you feel the telephone support helped, and in what ways the service could be improved. This call/visit would be tape-recorded with your permission to make sure that all your comments could be included. The tape would not have your name on it, only a number. Any information you provided would be treated as confidential and anonymous. Your participation in this study would not affect any other support that you were receiving.

Who would know about me taking part in the study

The research team would know whether you had agreed to take part in the study. We would also like to let your GP and your health visitor know that you were taking part. Should you prefer that this information remained confidential, please let us know.

When writing up the findings of the study the researchers would take care to ensure that they did not reveal the identity of participants, and any quotations that were used for the purpose of reports or presentations would be anonymous.

All information that you provided for us, would be treated as confidential and would not be shared with anyone outside the research team unless required by law under the terms of the Children Act (1989). This refers to any information about risk to a child that is brought to the attention of a researcher.

What are the benefits of taking part

The telephone support service could lead to a reduction of symptoms of depression. It could also make a significant impact on the wellbeing of the baby, by improving the mental health and functioning of the mother. It might also help to improve and refine the NHS service for future users.

What are the risks of taking part

There is a risk that being a peer-volunteer and supporting other women who are experiencing postnatal depression could be stressful or upsetting. We have put in place a number of sources of support including a rigorous training and ongoing supervision. However you would be completely free to withdraw from the study at any time, and without giving any reason, if you discovered that you did not like or want to continue providing peer support of this nature.

What would happen to the information I provided during the interview

If you were in agreement, the interview would be recorded on an audiotape which would be stored in a locked cabinet and would only be identifiable via the study number. The audiotapes would only be used for the purposes of this study, and would be destroyed after a period of three years. Should you not agree for the interview to be recorded, the researcher conducting the interview would take notes. Anonymous quotations might be used for the purpose of reporting the findings of the study or presentations to professional audiences.

What will happen to the results of the research study

The results of the study will be written up in a final report and the results may also be written up in professional journals. If you were interested, we would be happy to provide you with a copy of the report. 

Who is organising and funding the research

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has provided funding to conduct this study. Researchers from The University of Warwick, together with health visitors from South Warwickshire PCT, are organising and conducting the study. The study is being conducted under the direction of Prof. Jane Barlow, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL. The study researcher is Mrs Sukhdev Sembi.

Who has reviewed the study

The study has been reviewed and agreed by Warwickshire Research Ethics Committees (number 08/H1211/94).

What if I want further information about the study

If you want any further information about the study you can telephone the study researcher Sukhdev Sembi on 02476 150508.

Thank you for taking the time to read this information sheet