Published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, the study took 134 mothers suffering from post-natal depression and put them in three groups. The first group took part in group singing sessions; the second participated in creative play workshops and the third received their usual care (such as antidepressants or family support).
Researchers found that the women who participated in group singing sessions recovered from post-natal depression more quickly than those in the other groups.
This is the first controlled study of the effect of singing on post-natal depression, the BBC reports. “Post-natal depression is debilitating for mothers and their families, yet our research indicates that for some women something as accessible as singing with their baby could help to speed up recovery at one of the most vulnerable times of their lives,” says lead researcher Dr Rosie Perkins.
According to Beyond Blue, postnatal depression affects up to one in seven women giving birth in Australia. It can develop between one month and up to one year after the birth of their baby.
What to do if you suspect a loved one has post-natal depression:
Listen: Don’t compare your own experience or offer unprofessional advice like “snap out of it” or “just be strong”.
Stay in touch: She may not feel like taking a call or having a visit, but a simple text will show her you are thinking of her.
Drop off food: Drop off a meal or her favourite dessert.
Don’t do it alone: Your help and support is fantastic but it’s important to engage professional mental health workers.
Take her out: Sunshine and a change of scenery can be great for lifting moods.
Gidget Foundation (Gidget Foundation) Helpline 1300 851 758
PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia) Helpline 1300 726 306