Perinatal Mental Health Toolkit

Perinatal Mental Health Toolkit by the Royal College of General Practitioners

Up to one in five women and one in ten men are affected by mental health problems during pregnancy and the first year after birth. Unfortunately, only 50% of these are diagnosed.


Photo: RCGP

Without appropriate treatment, the negative impact of mental health problems during the perinatal period is enormous and can have long-lasting consequences on not only women, but their partners and children too. However, this is not inevitable. When problems are diagnosed early and treatment offered promptly, these effects can be mitigated.

This toolkit provides a set of relevant tools to assist members of the primary care team to deliver the highest quality care to women with mental health problems in the perinatal period.

Source: Perinatal Mental Health Toolkit

New Study examines effects of Maternal Depression on young children

We know a mom who is clinically depressed has a lot of negative outcomes. Those negative outcomes are not just for the mom, they can also have long-term implications for children.

Researchers and clinicians alike have been particularly concerned about the effects of maternal depression during and after pregnancy on children.

Picture: scope stanford medicine

But a new study suggests that a mother’s depression during the preschool years may be more harmful to children than either her prenatal or immediately postnatal depression. It is the first study to track the effects of maternal depression on children from pregnancy until the children turn 5.

Source: New Study Examines Effects Of Maternal Depression On Young Children | Scope Blog

Domestic violence during pregnancy

Domestic violence is any physical, sexual, psychological or economic abuse that takes place between people who are sharing, or have recently shared a home.

In Africa, there is more violence against women than on any other continent. Three women are killed by their partners in South Africa every day, thats twice as many women than in the United States of America. Violence during pregnancy has negative effects for both the mother and the child. Abused women are more likely to delay getting pregnancy care and to attend fewer antenatal visits.

Our recent research study looked at pregnant women who experience domestic violence in Hanover Park, Cape Town. We looked at the profile of women who reported domestic violence and what factors in their lives were associated with this abuse.

domestic_violence_during_pregnancy

We found that women who were experiencing domestic violence were more likely than those without domestic violence to:

– have a current mental health problem like depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or behaviours, alcohol or drug abuse

– have had past mental health problems
– have experienced past abuse
– not feel supported by their partner
– not likely feel pleased about being pregnant
– more likely experience food insecurity and not have a job

Out of this study with developed a learning brief which targets any service providers who interact with vulnerable women and children, especially those service providers who work with pregnant women. Such services providers can arise from nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) or civil society organisations and may be healthcare providers or social service providers.
Find this and more on our resources for professionals pages.

How can we screen for perinatal depression – globally!

Source: https://womensmentalhealth.org/posts/can-screen-perinatal-depression-developing-world/

While perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD) have a global footprint, the majority of research related to this group of illnesses has come largely from more affluent, Westernized countries.  Similarly, the tools used to detect and screen for PMADs were developed and tested in these Westernized countries.

The instrument most commonly used to detect PMADs is the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), which was originally developed in Great Britain.  While it has been translated into many different languages and used in many different countries, it is unclear if these translated versions of the EPDS accurately identify PMAD in disparate, non-English speaking countries.  Specifically there has been concern that simply translating the EPDS may not fully capture the cultural determinants of mood and anxiety disorders.

Asian mother holds her newborn baby

Asian mother holds her newborn baby

Particularly vulnerable to mental health problems are the women who are pregnant or have recently given birth living in resource-constrained, low- and lower-middle-income countries (LALMICs) as defined by the World Bank.  A  recent systematic review appraised formally validated local language versions of the EPDS used in resource-constrained settings (Shrestha et al., 2016).

 

Mental health care ‘chronically underfunded’ in SA

Source: Mental health care ‘chronically underfunded’ in SA | University of Cape Town News

Mental health care in South Africa has been chronically underfunded for many years, which is reflected in inadequate care in primary clinics, community residential care facilities and acute mental health units in district and national hospitals, says Professor Crick Lund.

Lund, director of the Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health (CPMH) in UCT’s Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, issued a statement in the wake of the Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba’s report into the deaths of more than 94 mentally ill patients from Life Esidimeni in Gauteng.

Health Ombudsman Prof Malegapuru Makgoba’s report into the deaths of more than 94 mentally ill patients from Life Esidimeni in Gauteng elicited an outcry when it was released this week

Integrating mental health care into maternal and infant care can help low-income families

Integrating therapy, other services, or information into routine visits can make getting help easier and chip away at the stigma regarding postpartum depression.

Photo: Shuttershock Image: Shuttershock

Unlike the “baby blues,” which are commonly associated with mild feelings of worry and fatigue after having a baby, postpartum depression is a mood disorder characterized by a broad range of symptoms including anxiety, extreme sadness, and exhaustion.

Source: How Folding Mental Health Services Into Maternal and Infant Care Can Help Low-Income Families – Rewire

Postpartum Depression: The Help I Needed

We are starting the New Year with a poignant reminder by the Medicated Mommy blogger.

you-are-not-alone

“I consider myself lucky. Maybe not lucky to have gone through the debilitating experience of postpartum depression (although looking back I am grateful–more on that in my next post), but fortunate enough to have recognized something was very wrong within 48 hours of being home from the hospital with my son. Upon this realization… The help I needed came in many different forms during my struggle that first year.”

Source: Postpartum Depression: The Help I Needed – The Medicated Mommy

Many reasons to say Thank You

happy holidays from the PMHP

In our last newsletter of the year we’ve thanked you, our supporters, families and friends who believed in the work we do and supported us throughout 2016.

With your donation of expertise and money we were able to care for mothers in need and engage with those providing health and social support for them.

Enjoy this festive season and we are looking forward to an even more exciting 2017 with you!

In this newsletter we are highlighting some of the achievements of the previous two months. Happy reading.

perinatalmentalhealth_news

Impact of maternal depression and anxiety on child development

A number of new studies have found that stress, depression or anxiety during and after pregnancy can have long lasting effects on the development of your child.

We have translated some of those findings into an Issue Brief and added some of our recommendations for evidence based interventions for parents.

maternal mental health care

This Issue Brief outlines not only the risk factors for parents, but also encourages the building of resilience to prevent or lessen the negative impacts for children.

caring for the future

“Caring for mothers and fathers – is caring for the future”

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