Science Daily reported this week on a new study published March 7 in Lancet finding that women’s support groups “have had a dramatic effect on reducing neonatal mortality rates” in India, while also significantly reducing postpartum depression.

“The effects of the interventions were dramatic: by the second and third years of the trial, the neonatal mortality rate in the areas where the participatory women’s groups existed had fallen by 45%. These areas also saw a significant fall (57%) in moderate depression amongst mothers by the third year of the trial …

The researchers believe that improved social capital — the access the group gave women to a wider support network of peers — was potentially the most valuable aspect of the groups and would have contributed towards the improved childbirth and childcare practices and the reduction in maternal depression. It may also explain why such groups have had much greater success than direct — even one-to-one — interventions with healthcare workers.”

This is so cool!!More evidence of the power of support groups and social support from peers to reduce the symptoms of postpartum depression and perhaps even prevent it.

Here’s the full abstract from the Lancet.