Depression and Anxiety peer support study (DAISY)

Depression and anxiety are very common issues affecting women after they have a baby. In Australia, at least 68,000 new mothers experience one or both of these conditions each year. It 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 needed.

In this study we are providing telephone-based peer support to new mothers, in addition to the usual community-based postnatal support. Volunteer mothers provide this support. We want to find out if this will make a difference to new mothers' mental health six months after the birth.

DAISY volunteer mothers are women who have experienced postnatal depression and/or anxiety themselves, but have since recovered. The volunteer mothers regularly ring the new mother they are allocated to, according to a schedule we provide. The new mother does not have to seek help herself. Six months after the birth, we ring all the women participating in the study and ask a series of questions about them and their baby.

How are we conducting the study?

The DAISY study is a randomised controlled trial (RCT). In an RCT, trial participants get allocated by chance to different groups. Both groups receive the usual hospital and community postnatal supports. One group, though, gets telephone support from volunteers on top of this.

The main outcome of the DAISY study is to look at the percentage of women who experience depression and anxiety in the two different groups. The women who are included are new mothers who are at higher risk than average of developing depression and/or anxiety after birth. The DAISY study team will conduct a telephone interview with each of the mothers in the study when their baby is six months old. This is to find out if there is any difference between the two groups in depression and anxiety symptoms. We will also ask both the volunteer peer supporters and the new mothers about their experiences of being in the DAISY in other separate surveys.

In 2019, we worked with maternal and child health nurse teams in two Local Government Areas (Hume and Wyndham). They identified women who were suitable to go into the study and sent the details of interested women to the DAISY coordinator. Now, we are working with the Royal Women's Hospital and the Northern Hospital. Research midwives identify new mothers who are eligible to be offered study participation, and approach them while they are still in hospital after the birth.

Who can participate in this study?

Recruitment to DAISY commenced in May 2019. The trial will run until 2022

We are currently looking for participants!

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

You may be eligible to be a research participant if you:

  • have given birth to a healthy infant at the Royal Women’s Hospital or the Northern Hospital;
  • are at slightly higher risk than average of developing depression and/or anxiety;
  • can be contacted by telephone up to six months after the birth; and
  • speak and understand English well.

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

  • have experienced 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 6-month period.

If you are interested in participating, please contact the DAISY project team.

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

Associate Investigators:

Ms Heather Grimes, JLC; Ms Catina Adams, JLC / School of Nursing and Midwifery, La Trobe University; Prof Jane Fisher, Monash University

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. 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: ACTRN12619000684123

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

*             The Royal Women’s Hospital

*             The Northern Hospital