Teen Moms from the American reality television series of the same name. Picture: MTV

If you are a teenage mom and suffering from depression, an online intervention may help as it can improve your depression treatment, a new study suggests.

The findings suggested that an online programme persuaded teenage mothers to seek medical help for depression, highlighting an inexpensive way to increase mental health treatment rates for the vulnerable group.

Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behaviour, feelings, and sense of well-being.

"Untreated postpartum depression hinders a mother's relationship with her child, her functioning at work and school, mothering skills and development," said lead author M. Cynthia Logsdon, Professor at the University of Louisville Hospital in Kentucky.

"The condition can also harm a baby's development and attachment to the mother," Logsdon added.

According to the study, half of the roughly 400 000 adolescents 18 and younger who give birth annually in the US experience depressive symptoms, but less than 25 percent follow referrals for depression evaluation and treatment.

For the study, published in the journal Archives of Women's Mental Health, researchers took up cases from 2013 to 2016.

It involved more than 200 teenage moms in urban, suburban and rural counties in Kentucky and study participants on average were 18 years old.

The website included videos of adolescent mothers describing their experiences with postpartum depression and treatment, questions and answers, and local and national resources, including referrals for counselling services and suicide and child-abuse prevention hotlines.

For both rural and urban counties, the intervention led to significant changes in attitude, intention to seek depression treatment and actually seeking treatment, the researcher said.

- IANS