Perinatal Depression

The Task Force guideline published in 2022 recommends against the global gold standard screening tool for depression during and after pregnancy.

Canada is going against the recommendations of essentially all other countries with guidelines for perinatal depression — including the U.S., U.K., and Australia. This is hugely important because suicide is a leading cause of maternal deaths. Screening for depression and helping make connections to community supports should be a priority to prevent maternal suicide, and to reduce serious mother and child harms that result from untreated depression. In June 2023, the US Task Force recommended depression screening of adults, including pregnant and postpartum women.

Guidelines developed by non-specialists and that are based solely on clinical trial data may oversimplify treatment and ignore clinical scenarios that require comprehensive judgment in addition to data, and may be harmful to patients.” — Canadian Psychiatric Association, letter from Dr. Wei-Yi Song, Past-President of Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA)

We disagree with the Task Force conclusion that the evidence in support of instrument -based screening for perinatal depression is very uncertain. Our position aligns with the conclusions of the US Preventive Services Task Force and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that there is evidence in favour of screening for depression in the perinatal period.”statement from the B.C. Reproductive Mental Health Program and Perinatal Services B.C.