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“I just wish it becomes part of routine care”: healthcare providers’ knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of screening for maternal mental health during and after pregnancy: a qualitative study

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McCauley, Mary ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1446-0625, Brown, Abigail, Ofosu, Bernice and van den Broek, Nynke ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8523-2684 (2019) '“I just wish it becomes part of routine care”: healthcare providers’ knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of screening for maternal mental health during and after pregnancy: a qualitative study'. BMC Psychiatry, Vol 19, Issue 279.

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Abstract

Background: Maternal mental health is an international public health concern. Many women experience mental ill-health during and after pregnancy, but assessment is not part of routine maternity care in many low- and middle-income countries. Healthcare providers are in a position to identify and support women who experience mental health disorders during and after pregnancy. We sought to investigate the knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of routine screening for maternal mental health during and after pregnancy among healthcare providers providing routine maternity care in Accra, Ghana. Enabling factors, barriers and potential management options to routinely screen maternal mental health during and after pregnancy were explored.
Methods: Semi-structured key informant interviews (n = 20) and one focus group discussion (n = 4) were conducted with healthcare providers working in one public hospital in Accra, Ghana. Transcribed interviews were coded by topic and then grouped into categories. Thematic framework analysis was undertaken to identify emerging themes.
Results: Most healthcare providers are aware of the importance of maternal mental health and would be keen to help women who experience mental ill-health during and after pregnancy, if resources were available to do so. An enabling factor was the suggestion of introducing a culturally appropriate mental health screening tool. However, compromised mental health was often considered a ‘spiritual issue’ and not routinely screened for by healthcare providers, nor requested by women. Barriers to the provision of quality maternal mental health care included lack of trained staff and lack of time.
Conclusions: Healthcare providers are aware of the problem of the lack of maternal mental health provision during and after pregnancy and are open to developing protocols to improve care. Currently, screening for maternal mental ill-health is not part of routine maternity care. The establishment of such a service requires the reprioritisation of workloads, further training, and a change in the attitudes and practices of healthcare providers. Education to change the attitudes of healthcare providers, women and the wider community towards mental
health is needed. The development and implementation of culturally appropriate guidelines would be beneficial and result in better quality of maternity care.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 310 Maternal welfare
WM Psychiatry > WM 100 General works
WM Psychiatry > WM 140 Mental disorders (General)
WM Psychiatry > WM 141 Psychiatric examination. Diagnosis
WP Gynecology > WP 100 General works
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-019-2261-x
Depositing User: Caroline Hercod
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2019 10:34
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2019 10:34
URI: https://archive.lstmed.ac.uk/id/eprint/13080

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