Depression and Anxiety peer support study (DAISY)


Depression and anxiety are very common issues that affect women after they have had a baby, and in Australia at least 68,000 new mothers experience one or both of these each year. These conditions can lead to serious adverse consequences for a mother’s health and the health of her infant and family. Effective strategies to prevent and reduce maternal depression are therefore needed.

What is the study about?

DAISY stands for Depression and AnxIety peer Support studY.

The DAISY study is a randomised controlled trial (RCT) exploring whether telephone support from a volunteer mother (who herself has a history of and is recovered from postnatal depression and/or anxiety) reduces the percentage of women experiencing depression and anxiety six months after the birth of their baby. We are testing whether providing this support in a proactive way (meaning our volunteers ring the new mothers, rather than them having to seek help themselves) for new mothers will make a difference to how they feel.

How are we conducting the study?

We are working with the maternal and child health (MCH) teams in two Local Government Areas (Hume and Wyndham) to identify women who are suitable to go in the DAISY study.

New mothers attending the MCH centres in these areas who attend their routine MCH visit around 4 to 8 weeks after the birth of their baby are screened for risk of postnatal depression using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (this happens already, it is not new for the DAISY study). Mothers with a score that indicates that they might be at slightly higher risk than average of developing depression and/or anxiety will be offered the option of participating in the DAISY study.

If mothers are eligible for the DAISY study and interested to go in it, the MCH nurse will send their first name and a phone contact to the research midwife, who will ring the mother to organise this. In a study like this (a randomised controlled trial) all women will continue to get their usual MCH care, but in addition, half the women (chosen randomly, by ‘chance’) will also be matched to a peer support volunteer who will call on a regular basis to offer support until six months postpartum.  We don’t know if having a volunteer mother call on a regular basis like this will help, and that is why we are doing the study.

Recruitment to DAISY will commence in February 2019 and the trial will run until 2022.

The DAISY study team will assess mothers from both the ‘usual care’ group and the peer support group at six months postpartum (after the baby’s birth) by a telephone interview to see if there is any difference between the two groups in depression and anxiety symptoms. After this we will also do surveys to assess the experiences of both the volunteer peer supporters and the mothers who received the telephone peer support.

Which organisations are involved in the study?

  • La Trobe University
  • Hume Local Government Area, Maternal Child Health Centres and nurses
  • Wyndham Local Government Area, Maternal Child Health Centres and nurses
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Who can be in the Study? 

You can participate in two ways in this study: as a research participant or as a peer support volunteer.

You may be eligible as a research participant if you:

  • attend a maternal child health centre in Hume or Wyndham Local Government Areas;
  • have a baby who is no more than 10 weeks old; and
  • speak and understand English well.

If you are interested in participating as a research participant please speak with your maternal and child health nurse.

You may be eligible as a peer support volunteer if you:

  • have experienced (either self or medically diagnosed) and recovered from postpartum depression and/or anxiety;
  • speak and understand English well; and
  • are able to commit to providing one-on-one telephone peer support with a new mother for a 4 month period.
If you are interested in participating as a peer support volunteer please contact the DAISY project team at email:; phone (03) 9479 5428 or Jessica Bee ( or Dr Touran Shafiei (


Who are the researchers?

Chief Investigators

Prof Della Forster, Maternity and Midwifery Research,  the La Trobe University Judith Lumley Centre (JLC) and The Royal Women's Hospital; Prof Helen McLachlan, JLC and School of Nursing and Midwifery; Prof Cindy-Lee Dennis, the University of Toronto; Prof Jan Nicholson, Dr Touran Shafiei, JLC; Prof Alan Shiell, La Trobe University; Dr Tram Nguyen, Royal Children's Hospital; JLC; Dr Cattram Nguyen, Murdoch Children's Research Institute

Associate Investigators

Ms Heather Grimes, JLC; Ms Catina Adams, Hume City Council; Prof Jane Fisher, Monash University; Ms Pauline Petschel, Wyndham City Council

More information

Who is funding the study?

This is a 4 year project funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC). NHMRC Project Grant no. 1141284.

Privacy and access to information

Information collected is kept confidential and the data will be used only for the purposes of this study. We have research ethics approval to conduct the DAISY trial.

Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry Trial number: tbc.

Further information

The DAISY trial is being co-ordinated at the Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University, by Dr Touran Shafiei.

For more information about the DAISY trial, please email the DAISY project team at or Dr Touran Shafiei at or Prof Della Forster at