Screening and Referral for Postpartum Depression among Low-Income Women: A Qualitative Perspective from Community Health Workers

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 3535 Market Street, Suite 1230, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
Depression research and treatment 04/2011; 2011(1):320605. DOI: 10.1155/2011/320605
Source: PubMed


Postpartum depression is a serious and common psychiatric illness. Mothers living in poverty are more likely to be depressed and have greater barriers to accessing treatment than the general population. Mental health utilization is particularly limited for women with postpartum depression and low-income, minority women. As part of an academic-community partnership, focus groups were utilized to examine staff practices, barriers, and facilitators in mental health referrals for women with depression within a community nonprofit agency serving low-income pregnant and postpartum women. The focus groups were analyzed through content analyses and NVIVO-8. Three focus groups with 16 community health workers were conducted. Six themes were identified: (1) screening and referral, (2) facilitators to referral, (3) barriers to referral, (4) culture and language, (5) life events, and (6) support. The study identified several barriers and facilitators for referring postpartum women with depression to mental health services.

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    • "Given that new mothers cite a lack of time as a major barrier to receiving mental health care (Goodman, 2009), social workers can provide services in various agencies including pediatric settings, women, infants, and children (WIC) clinics, day care centers, and perinatal health care agencies as well as obstetric offices (Goodman, 2009). Because child care arrangements can be a barrier to receiving treatment (Boyd et al., 2011;Dennis & Chung-Lee, 2006;Goodman, 2009;Ugarriza, 2004), offering child care options on site or allowing children to sit in during health care office visits would be potentially helpful. In other instances, services can be provided in the home (O'Mahen & Flynn, 2008) for mothers who are on bed rest or are active clients with agencies providing home-based services. "
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