An exploration of health professionals’ knowledge and perspectives on supporting women with perinatal mental health difficulties

Snell, Amber (2023) An exploration of health professionals’ knowledge and perspectives on supporting women with perinatal mental health difficulties. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis portfolio explores aspects of perinatal mental healthcare from a staff perspective. The systematic review aimed to explore the level of knowledge healthcare workers have of perinatal mental health conditions. The empirical research project aimed to explore staff views on supporting women with postpartum psychosis at different points of the perinatal clinical pathways.

The systematic review utilised Thomas and Harden’s (2005) framework for mixed methods narrative synthesis. The empirical research project utilised a mixed methods design. An online questionnaire was developed to capture staff views on supporting women and families who have experienced postpartum psychosis. Descriptive statistics alongside content analysis were used to report findings. A multiple regression analysis was conducted to explore factors which predict staff confidence when supporting women with postpartum psychosis.

Twenty-three studies (n = 3,329) were included in the systematic review. The evidence showed there are knowledge deficits around perinatal mental health. Knowledge of perinatal depression was greater than knowledge of other conditions. The empirical paper found that staff make adaptations to their usual way of working. All participants indicated that women may benefit from support beyond one year post birth, whilst 61% felt babies may need additional support. Staff working in specialist perinatal mental health services, had more frequent contact with women and those with greater years of experience reported the highest confidence when providing support.

The systematic review concluded that workers have knowledge gaps around the range of perinatal mental health conditions, such as discussing mental health concerns. Workers should be supported to expand their knowledge and apply this in practice. The empirical paper highlights a research-practice gap around helpful interventions. There is a need for improved guidance around effective interventions with a perinatal focus. All workers in the perinatal care pathways should be supported to increase their confidence when working with women with postpartum psychosis.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2023 14:02
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2023 14:02


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