The Hards Method

About the Project

The Hards Method project is a pilot initiative to (1) assess the feasibility of engaging patient partners who have experienced postpartum mental health concerns in the development of a community-based approach to address such issues and (2) evaluate the efficacy of the framework with key stakeholders.

Project Objectives 

• Developing an approach to engage citizen-patients with mental health concerns in research (underscored by values of respect, equality and creating a shared decision-making);
• Using this foundation to develop measures that determine the utility of the intervention as prioritized by citizen-patients and providers of the target group;
• Documenting rural women’s concerns regarding access to mental health services in the postpartum period;
• Documenting care providers’ (physicians, midwives, nurses, counsellors, social workers) experiences of providing mental health screening and care in the postpartum period in the context of limited resources in a rural community;
• Documenting women and care providers’ experiences using the Hards Method to create a mental health plan;
• The role of the Hards Method in creating more awareness about mental health issues in the postpartum
period; and
• Documenting best practices for engaging members of the community

About the ‘Hards Method’ Framework

The ‘Hards Method’ is a citizen/patient – developed framework for expressing a mental health plan for the postpartum period in case it is necessary. The method was developed by the project’s patient partner and co-lead, April Hards, in response to preparing for her own postpartum experience. She recognized having a mental illness made her significantly more likely to develop postpartum depression. The ‘Hards Method’ was created out of her own need to feel supported, safe and have a guarantee she would not fall through the cracks.

The pragmatic, experience-driven framework asks parturient people to identify how the signs of postpartum depression may manifest in their behaviors, what others should look for, and who they should contact (as well as who they should not contact)

(Photo: April with her son Virgil)

  • April 2020 – May 2021
  • Golden, BC
Funding Agency:
  • Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
Research Team:
  • Dr. Jude Kornelsen (Centre for Rural Health Research), Co-lead
  • April Hards, Co-lead/Patient Partner
  • Eva Sullivan (Centre for Rural Health Research), Research Assistant
  • Mel Weber, Community Liaison