Promoting perinatal mental health: Defining Canadian strategies to address acute postpartum mental illness

University of Calgary, Faculty of Nursing and the British Columbia Provincial Health Services Authority, Reproductive Mental Health Program


Currently in Canada, hospital stays for mental health treatment in the postpartum require the separation of birthing individuals from their babies, which has been shown to be traumatic for them and baby. We would like to better understand the experience of birthing individuals who have been hospitalized for mental illness in the postpartum to help inform recommendations about how the healthcare system can best support families experiencing acute postpartum mental illness in Canada.

  • We are thinking of doing three studies:
    One involves interviews with birthing individuals who have experienced hospitalization for mental illness in the postpartum in Canada to try to capture and understand their perspectives and insights of this experience.
  • In another study, we plan to look at large population-based datasets to learn how often birthing individuals are being hospitalized for postpartum mental illness in British Columbia, and better understand who might need this care.
  • In a third study, we are interested in learning from the experiences of parent-baby units in the Australian healthcare system to benefit from insights about the strengths and weaknesses of potential delivery models.

BUT – we want our research to be useful and informed by patient priorities. By joining our patient advisory group, we want to hear from you about our ideas,what matters most, and what you might change or improve.

Roles and Responsibilities

We are looking for patients and family members with lived experience of mental health treatment in the postpartum and living in Alberta to work together with clinicians and researchers on this research.  Some of the ways to collaborate as a member of the patient advisory group are:

  • Provide insights and feedback on research priorities and participant interview question guides to ensure the project and results are meaningful and relevant to patients
  • Help inform participant recruitment approaches and strategies
  • Review and provide feedback on research results as well as the written summary of the results, including co-authorship in peer-reviewed publication
Time Commitment

This project anticipates to have the first patient advisory group meeting in Summer or Fall of 2022 and to continue for 3 years.
There will be be 3 to 4 online meetings (via Zoom with telephone in option). Most meetings will be about 1 – 1.5 hours in length. We will do our best to find times to meet that are suitable for all members.
There will be additional opportunities to provide feedback and insights between meetings either through email and/or teleconference communication, but we are also open to feedback from members if they prefer to meet in person.


Patient partners will be offered an annual honorarium for their time and essential contributions.
As this is an anticipated online opportunity, there are no direct expenses involved for travel or parking.

For more information or to apply:
Prescilla Carrion
Dr. Catriona Hippman

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Land Acknowledgment

The Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit operates on and acknowledges the lands that are the traditional and ancestral territory of many peoples, presently subject to Treaties 6, 7, and 8. Namely: the Blackfoot Confederacy – Kainai, Piikani, and Siksika – the Cree, Dene, Saulteaux, Nakota Sioux, Stoney Nakoda, and the Tsuu T’ina Nation and the Métis People of Alberta. This includes the Métis Settlements and the Métis Nation of Alberta. We acknowledge the many First Nations, Métis and Inuit who have lived in and cared for these lands for generations. We make this acknowledgment as a reaffirmation of our shared commitment towards reconciliation, and as part of AbSPORU’s mandate towards fostering health system transformation.