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Dr. Simone Vigod: Maternal Mental Health Researcher and Innovator

With the rise of social media influencers that purport to show how easy it is to be a new mom, many new mothers feel that are failing in comparison when it comes to motherhood. As a senior scientist at Women's College Research Institute, Dr. Simone Vigod has conducted many research studies that focus on maternal mental illness. Her research helps to raise awareness of the lack of access to perinatal mental healthcare, particularly for women from vulnerable populations. Dr. Vigod's goal is to ensure that every woman is able to access the mental healthcare that she needs during and after her pregnancy, to ensure the health of herself and her family.

Using a multidisciplinary network consisting of researchers, content experts, front-line workers, and women with lived experience, Dr. Vigod uses digital technologies to create interventions to improve maternal mental health delivery. One of these interventions is called Mother Matters. Mother Matters is a therapist-facilitated online postpartum mental health group that has been implemented across Ontario. Her research has also provided valuable insight into how to balance the mental health needs of pregnant women with the risks of medication to the fetus. Another intervention spearheaded by Dr. Vigod was an online patient decision-making tool created to help women make informed choices about the use of anti-depressant medications during pregnancy, a model which is now being evaluated for use in the U.K. By working to advance knowledge, and create interventions that improve access to maternal mental health services for new mothers, Dr. Vigod hopes to improve the ability of our healthcare system to better provide for the needs of women during pregnancy.

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