Session: The First Challenge Is Identification: Enhancing Maternal and Infant Mental Health through Innovative and Integrative Risk Screening (Society for Social Work and Research 20th Annual Conference - Grand Challenges for Social Work: Setting a Research Agenda for the Future)

196 The First Challenge Is Identification: Enhancing Maternal and Infant Mental Health through Innovative and Integrative Risk Screening

Saturday, January 16, 2016: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Meeting Room Level-Meeting Room 16 (Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel)
Cluster: Mental Health
Symposium Organizer:
Sarah Kye Price, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University
Background and Purpose:  Untreated depression is a serious and persistent problem in many families.  Research demonstrates the expansive challenges that undetected and untreated depression creates in infant development, child well-being, parental attachment, and the mental health and adaptive functioning of families across the lifespan.  In order to prevent these adverse challenges, we must have effective ways to screen, identify and preventatively intervene with populations at risk.  Social work researchers are at the forefront of innovative approaches to screening and risk identification that quickly lead to holistic and targeted interventions that promote the mental health and well-being of parents and children.  In this symposium, members of the Maternal and Infant Mental Health SIG focus on the innovative aspects of screening that have widespread relevance for social work research and practice, including specific focus on both maternal and paternal screening; the intersection of depression and trauma; identification of groups who may exclude themselves from screening, and integration of screening within existing community support programs to maximize referral and intervention.

Methods:  Five papers are presented in this symposium, each of which has been selected to reflect an area of innovation in depression and behavioral health risk screening that can help enhance social work’s multi-systemic and integrative approach to science and practice.  The symposium begins with an examination of the empirical pathways by which fathers’ depression influences children's development in a large sample of young children (N=3001) in low income families.  Next, we focus on integration of interpersonal trauma along with identification of depression symptoms in a sample of pregnant adolescents (N=224) who encounter concomitant life stressors.  The symposium moves on to specifically consider the characteristics of women (N=1059) who elected vs. excluded themselves from health system screening for perinatal depression.  Finally, two papers consider the integration of depression screening in existing community services.  The first paper uses focus groups (N=33) to consider benefits and barriers to depression screening in Head Start, and the final paper examines behavioral health risk screening  from a statewide service enhancement study (N=1,489) using the first point of contact with maternal and child home visiting programs for screening, brief intervention, and referral.

Results:  By presenting and integrating findings across these studies, the symposium offers conceptual, developmental, empirical, and translational knowledge bridging research and practice regarding the screening and identification of mental health and behavioral health risks during pregnancy and postpartum.  Collectively, these studies demonstrate the importance of including both parents in screening, considering the complexity of traumatic life events and behavioral health risks when identifying possible depression, and the importance of building networks of support to facilitate widespread screening and thereby enhancing service utilization. 

Conclusions and Implications: Comprehensive and translatable approaches to screening and identification of depression are necessary in order to promote maternal and infant mental health.  Papers in the symposium offer innovative and integrative approaches for reaching underserved populations and advancing research and practice that is relevant to real world enhancements in mental health intervention and services.

* noted as presenting author
The Influence of Paternal Depression in Parenting of Young Children in Low-Income Families
Michaela Farber, PhD, BCD, LCSW-C, The Catholic University of America
Interpersonal Trauma in Low-Income Adolescent Mothers: The Epidemiology of an Unrecognized Epidemic
Candace Killian-Farrell, LCSW, MSSW, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Sarah E. Bledsoe, PhD, MSW, MPhil, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Brianna M. Lombardi, MSW, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Cynthia Fraga Rizo, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Samantha Meltzer-Brody, MD, MPH, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Maternal Depression Screening in Head Start: Pitfalls and Solutions
Ferol E. Mennen, PhD, University of Southern California; Lawrence A. Palinkas, PhD, University of Southern California; William Monro, MSW, University of Southern California
Home Visitation Programs As a Point of Entry for Maternal and Infant Mental Health: Lessons from a Multi-Community System Enhancement Pilot
Sarah Kye Price, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University; D. Crystal Coles, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University; Jody Hearn, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University
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