Welcome Dr Natalia Gusak
22 May 2020
CHSS welcomes Dr Natalia Gusak to the Centre until August from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine, funded by the Global Challenges Doctoral Centre. Natalia is Head of the School of Social Work Department. Her postdoctoral appointment will see her work with Professor Sally Kendall and Dr Olena Nizalova on the collaborative study exploring factors affecting mental health and wellbeing of mothers and infants in Ukraine, and evaluating the potential of Primary Health Care to play a role in its improvement.
The project will produce evidence on mental health among pregnant women and mothers in the 1001 days from conception to two years – a critical time in child brain development and physical, social and emotional well-being. Evidence shows that adverse childhood experiences like deprivation, neglect, substance misuse, maternal mental health problems and abuse – can negatively affect this period.
The project focuses on three main areas; antenatal care, pre- and post-partum maternal mental health, and breastfeeding. Some data exists on antenatal care and breastfeeding in Ukraine, but the maternal mental health picture is less clear. However, indirect evidence suggests a dire situation with a combination of existing factors which are likely to lead to high burden of maternal mental health problems.
The scoping study will explore existing mental health service provision for mothers: awareness, experience, use and satisfaction with quality, and test online research instruments around maternal mental health in the Ukraine setting.
The team will use the data to develop a Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) research agenda on maternal and infant health in post-Soviet countries, and to prepare for a wider future study.