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.
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 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 therapy, other services, or information into routine visits can make getting help easier and chip away at the stigma regarding postpartum depression.
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.
We are starting the New Year with a poignant reminder by the Medicated Mommy blogger.
“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.”
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.
What is empathic engagement and why is it important?
Empathy is the ability to perceive the meaning and feelings of another person and to be able to communicate these to that person. Empathy is a core aspect of building relationships and positive client interaction. When care workers engage empathically with clients, clients feel empowered, service uptake is improved and clients are more likely to adhere to recommended interventions and treatment regimens. There are also benefits for the care workers who report less burnout and enhanced work satisfaction.
Studies have shown that empathic engagement does not necessarily take up more time, is not emotionally exhausting like being sympathetic, and does not overburden the care worker, as the client maintains responsibility for their own problems. In addition, this type of communication can actually save time, effort and expense as the relevant client issues are more quickly identified resulting in early and more effective management.
Building up to empathic skills: learning about maternal mental health
Stigma, related to a lack of understanding and negative stereotyping of those with mental illness, is a significant factor in communities and among care workers. We attempt to reduce this stigma through the provision of background information about maternal mental illness and related medical and social problems. We encourage participants to work in small groups, engage with, discuss and apply our training material in a way which is relevant to their unique situations and work environment.
We noted a gap between the perceived ability and actual ability of workshop participants to engage empathically. Most participants struggle to “listen” and accept the client’s perspective without judgment. Instead, they very quickly assume they understand the problem and revert to “telling” and “fixing” based on their own perspective and experience.
Read more on how to develop a meaningful training, how to support trainers and how to evaluate the training process in our Learning Brief
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.
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 mothers and fathers – is caring for the future”
A must read article published by
The confusions and perceptions surrounding perinatal anxiety and depression are preventing new and expecting mums from seeking help.
“I’m looking down at my baby on my chest and I’m feeling nothing, whilst my husband was besotted with her. He was so overwhelmed with joy and I didn’t have that. I wasn’t feeling how I should.” Sara Gerritsma
Bearing the shame of this illness can prevent new parents like Gerritsma from seeking help early and can leave them suffering in silence for longer.
Our latest newsletter is packed with exciting new collaborative projects and updates from our website.
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One in three migrant women from low- and middle-income countries has symptoms of perinatal depression
Migration and perinatal mental health in women from low- and middle-income countries.
In this systematic review and meta-analysis the authors summarising the prevalence, associated factors and interventions for perinatal mental disorders in migrant women from low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).
Even though they found that the prevalence of perinatal depression is very high among migrant women, the data they found was insufficient to assess the burden of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or psychosis in this population.
Furthermore the authors stress, that given the adverse consequences of perinatal mental illness on women and their children, further research in low-resource settings is a priority.
Read the abstract in the BJOG – International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaeocology
Interested in mental illness among displaced, migrant and refugee women in South Africa? Read our Issue Brief