Perinatal mental health

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Summary of report content

Between September 2018 and May 2019, Healthwatch Lambeth conducted in-depth qualitative research study to explore the experience of 18 mothers from Lambeth with mild to moderate mental health problems at perinatal stage. They also sought the views of 12 health and social care professionals on their confidence to support mothers and their knowledge on the relevant services mothers can access.

The report found that timely identification of problems did not happen because the mothers’ condition was being dismissed as hormonal and normal and both them and the professional lacked confidence to discuss mental health conditions; mothers mostly developed mental health problems after the birth of their child as they felt overwhelmed and unsure what to do; mothers found a trusting relationship and access to informal social support play an important role in coping with their conditions; there were very few relevant services known to professionals and mothers due to lack of information and gaps in service.

The report made recommendations to the local NHS Trusts, CCGs, services and voluntary sector organisations to provide training to professionals to identify signs and symptoms of mental health conditions and how to communicate with empathy about sensitive issues; to have a proactive approach to information sharing; to raise public awareness on mental health to help de-stigmatise the issue; for health and social care professionals to proactively engage with the relevant people in the mother’s life as a source of support for them.

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General details

Report title 
Perinatal mental health
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Lambeth
Date of publication 
Saturday, 1 June, 2019
Date evidence capture began 
Saturday, 1 September, 2018
Date evidence capture finished 
Wednesday, 1 May, 2019
Type of report 
Report
Key themes 
Access
Communication between staff and patients
Diagnosis
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of treatment
Staff attitudes
Staff training
Support
Healthwatch reference number 
Rep-4653

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
No
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
No
Primary research method used 
Structured interview
How was the information collected? 
Telephone

Details of health and care services included in the report

Mental health services 
Depression and anxiety service
Psychiatry / mental health (other services)
Social care services 
Adult social care

Details about conditions and diseases

Types of disabilities 
Mental health
What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 
New mothers

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
30
Age group 
All people 18 and over
Gender 
All
Ethnicity 
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
No
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
No
Does the information include staff's views? 
Yes
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
Care / support workers
Doctors
Midwives
Nurses
Does the information include other people's views? 
Yes
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 
Negative

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Yes
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
No
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Not applicable
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not applicable

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
 
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
 
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.