Mental health and ANH research
byThalia Sparling
Webinar or Seminar
| Mental Health, Public Health, Nutrition, Food Systems, Agriculture
Date and Time
From: 8 September 2020, 14:00
To: 8 September 2020, 15:30
GMT Greenwich Mean Time GMT
Country: United Kingdom
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Webinar: Mental health and ANH research


Worldwide, depression, anxiety and other common mental health issues impact people's health, quality of life and livelihoods. Research into the etiology, social and environmental determinants that drive mental health states has evolved in the last decades.  Specifically, the relationship between mental health and livelihoods, food and nutrition security is an emerging interest globally.  Researchers are beginning to link mental health and food and nutrition through both observational studies and intervention trials, but there is much more to learn.  The ANH Academy is convening a Technical Working Group on Mental Health to advance knowledge and research practice in this area, with a particular focus on relevant tools, metrics and methods. During this webinar, three of its members will be presenting their pioneering research that asks crucial questions including: can treatment of maternal depression impact the health and nutrition of both mothers and children? When women's household food security is improved, what is the effect on mental health and quality of life? Please join us to hear from the presenters and contribute to the working group's upcoming activities.

This webinar will be moderated by Thalia Sparling, IMMANA, LSHTM, and speaker presentations will include:

  • Erin Pfeiffer, Food for the Hungry and Bryan Cheng, Teachers College, Columbia University: Maternal Depression and Its Impact on Child Health and Nutrition: Highlights from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Uganda

    A staggering one in five mothers experiences depression after birth in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) where access to therapeutic interventions and mental health services is limited. Maternal depression is associated with poor child health, growth, and development, possibly due to reduced caregiver responsiveness, functioning, and uptake of caregiving practices. Addressing caregiver mental health is thus a critical component of improving health and nutrition of children. A recently completed randomized controlled trial in Uganda - implemented by Food for the Hungry, World Vision International, Columbia University, and Johns Hopkins University - studied the impact of maternal depression and its treatment with Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Groups (IPT-G) followed by 15 months of Care Group peer-to-peer health education. This seminal study found that women treated with IPT-G had a greater reduction of depression than in control mothers and significantly better adoption of behaviours. Learn more about these findings and the implications for the global development community.

  • Vicky Santoso, Northwestern University, IMMANA Fellow: Food security mediates the decrease in women’s depressive symptoms in a participatory nutrition-sensitive agroecology intervention in rural Tanzania
    Even though the potential impact of nutrition-sensitive agriculture (NSA) intervention on household food security and the association between household’s security and women’s depression are well established, there has been little empirical evidence demonstrating the impact of NSA’s on women’s depression. In this talk, Vicky Santoso will discuss how an NSA intervention in Tanzania, the Singida Nutrition and Agroecology Project, reduced the odds of women’s probable depression by 43% and the mediating role of food insecurity in this impact. This finding highlights an opportunity for interdisciplinary work between mental health, nutrition, and agriculture fields to improve the quality of life for women in low-resource areas. 

Note: To access this webinar, you will need to register and be logged in to your Zoom account. If you don't have a Zoom account, you can create one here for free.


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