Dr. Kalyn Renbarger received a Trailblazer Award, Mitigating the Effects of COVID-19 on Maternal Mental Health through a Community-University Partnership. This project is funded in partnership with the Indiana CTSI and the Indiana State Department of Health in the amount of $25,000.

This is an interprofessional project which includes a team from across the college.

  • Kalyn Renbarger, School of Nursing
  • Corie Hess, Muncie Maternal Mental Health Coalition, Ball State graduate
  • Jean Marie Place, Department of Science and Nutrition
  • Lina Burkhart, Department of Counseling Psychology, Social Psychology, and Counseling, Director of the Counseling Practicum Clinic
  • Allyson Broadstreet, Department of Counseling Psychology, Social Psychology, and Counseling, graduate student

The purpose of this pilot study is to increase access to trained support, reduce barriers to treatment, and thereby improve maternal mental health outcomes during and post-COVID-19 among women with symptoms of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) in Delaware County, Indiana. Untreated PMADs have devastating consequences for maternal health and child development. In Delaware County, many women with PMADs do not receive appropriate treatment due to a lack of trained mental health providers. The need for support has intensified in the face of isolation from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This study aims to 1) assess the effect of group counseling sessions on PMADs among women at the Ball State University Counseling Practicum Clinic (CPC); 2) examine the effect of peer support specialists on PMADs among women in Delaware County, and 3) evaluate the feasibility of building a referral system from local community health clinics to the peer support intervention. Women who have experienced and recovered from symptoms of PMADs will be recruited and trained to become certified peer support specialists.

The Muncie Maternal Mental Health Coalition is a community-university partnership with Ball State University, which utilizes the Counseling Practicum Clinic as a way to address the mental health provider gap in Delaware County.