Project Summary

This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.

What is the research about?

One in seven mothers have perinatal depression at some point in their lives. This type of depression occurs before or after giving birth. Treatment is available, but many people don’t receive it. Providers who treat patients during and after pregnancy, such as obstetricians, may be able to check patients’ mental health needs and refer them to care. But often these providers don’t have the training or resources to do so.

In this study, the research team is comparing three statewide programs to help providers improve access to mental health care for pregnant and postpartum patients.

Who can this research help?

Results may help perinatal mental health programs when considering ways to train providers to diagnose and treat perinatal depression.

What is the research team doing?

The research team is comparing three statewide programs that offer one or more of the following:

  • Training that teaches obstetric providers to diagnose and treat perinatal depression.
  • Consultation with mental healthcare providers to support obstetric providers in diagnosing and treating perinatal depression.
  • Resources and referrals that offer patients information on perinatal depression or referrals to local mental healthcare providers.

The New Jersey program includes resources and referrals for patients. The Washington State program includes training and consultation for providers. The Massachusetts program includes training and consultation and resources and referrals for providers. The research team wants to learn how well these services help increase access to mental health care.

The research team is looking at insurance claims to see if patients get follow-up care and treatment for depression after the programs begin.

Groups that support mental health for pregnant or postpartum patients and patients who have experience with perinatal depression are helping to plan and conduct this study.

Research methods at a glance

Design Element Description
Design Quasi-experimental study
Population An estimated 6,000 women with perinatal depression, receiving Medicaid, and living in Washington State, New Jersey, or Massachusetts
  • Training and consultation for obstetric providers (Washington State)
  • Resources and referrals for patients (New Jersey)
  • Training, consultation, and resources and referrals for obstetric providers (Massachusetts)

Primary: access to mental health care (any outpatient mental health service use, any use of psychotherapy any prescription for an antidepressant)

Secondary: receipt of follow-up care within 30 days of depression screening, psychiatric emergency department visits, psychiatric hospitalizations, recommended dosage for antidepressants, psychotropic polypharmacy

Timeframe Up to 42-month follow-up for primary outcome

Project Information

Thomas I. Mackie, PhD, MPH
Nancy Byatt, DO, MS, MBA
The Research Foundation for The State University of New York on behalf of State University of New York Downstate Health Sciences University (SUNY DHSU)
Comparative Effectiveness of Perinatal Psychiatry Access Programs

Key Dates

March 2020
November 2024

Study Registration Information


Award Type
Populations Populations PCORI is interested in research that seeks to better understand how different clinical and health system options work for different people. These populations are frequently studied in our portfolio or identified as being of interest by our stakeholders. View Glossary
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: January 26, 2024