The Shadow Pandemic: Wellbeing of Pregnant Persons, Parents, and Families during the COVID-19

Dr. Anna MacKinnon

“How do I develop emotion regulation and healthy coping in myself and my child?” was one of the top research priorities identified by parents in Alberta. This need is even more important now that families are facing unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. I will present recent findings from the national Pregnancy during the COVID-19 Pandemic study and from the All Our Families cohort survey. This research helps us understand the impact of stressors on maternal mental health and children’s functioning, as well as highlight protective factors that might mitigate stress. I will also talk about some recommendations for families and introduce an innovative new digital health program our team is developing called BEAM - Building Emotional Awareness & Mental Health, which provides evidence-based mental health support and parenting strategies.

Dr. Anna MacKinnon is a post-doctoral fellow at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, in the Departments of Psychology and Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary. Her research focuses on social determinants of child health and development, risk and resilience for perinatal mental health, as well as intervention programs for psychological distress and parenting. She is a registered clinical psychologist, who received her PhD from McGill University and completed a CPA-accredited residency at the London Health Sciences Centre, with training in treatment for children and families from diverse backgrounds.