Benicio Frey

Women's Health

Message from Division Lead, Benicio Frey

The Women’s Health Concerns Clinic (WHCC) mission is to promote women’s mental health and well-being across the menstrual cycle, childbearing years, and the transition to menopause through evidence-based clinical care, education and research.


The Women’s Health Concerns Clinic (WHCC) provides assessment, consultation and treatment for women who are experiencing mood symptoms and other mental health problems related to the menstrual cycle, childbearing or menopause. The WHCC also conducts clinical and biological research in these areas. Many residents have had tremendous clinical and research experience working with the experts at the WHCC.

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Female-reproductive mental health problems are major public health problems. Between 7-15% of women experience postpartum depression, 5-9% suffer from severe premenstrual syndrome and about 10% develop significant mood or anxiety problems during the transition to menopause. In addition, offprings of women who suffered from postpartum mental health problems are at increased risk for developing mental and/or physical illnesses.  Therefore, early detection/diagnosis and early treatment are critical in preventing long-term consequences. Our clinic accepts self-referrals in order to facilitate access to treatment with our multidisciplinary team including specialized therapists, nurses, psychologists, social workers, physicians and allied health. Finally, our program is strongly involved with Educational activities at undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels.

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Research at the WHCC involves studies aimed at understanding the mechanisms behind hormonally-related mental health problems. More specifically, our research is primarily focused on mood and anxiety conditions associated with female-reproductive live events: Pregnancy, the postpartum period, the premenstrual period and the menopause transition. Our research also includes investigation of mental and physical development of offsprings of mothers with mental health conditions. 

Research Initiatives 

Example projects include: 

  • The Maternal Adversity, Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment (MAVAN) Study 
  • Emotional Regulation in Women with Co-morbid Bipolar Disorder and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder 
  • Stress, immune system functioning and postpartum depression: the impact of heightened systematic inflammation and risk of CVD later in life 
  • Midlife Women with MDD: The effects of tryptophan or phenylalanine/thyrosine depletions on mood and thermoregulation in depressed subjects responsive to estrogen therapy 
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Menopausal Symptoms: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
  • Early Cognitive Development in the Offspring of Women Enrolled in a Randomized Controlled Trial Assessing the Effectiveness of a Nutrition + Exercise Intervention for Healthy Gestational Weight Gain 
  • Circadian Rhythms and Postpartum Depression 

Research Themes

Contact Us

We invite you to learn more about the Women's Health Program and the opportunities that are available at McMaster University. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Benicio Frey

Benicio Frey

Associate Professor

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