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Exploring changes in health visitors knowledge, confidence and decision making for women with perinatal mental health difficulties following a brief training package

Catriona Jones, Julie Jomeen, Lesley Glover, Eric Gardiner, Deepak Garg, Clare Marchall


Rationale and objective: Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) is an issue that spans the spectrum of pregnancy and childbirth and is now acknowledged to be significant on a global level. Health visitors (HVs) are increasingly expected to extend their knowledge and to understand and identify PMH in the antenatal period and across the spectrum from mild/moderate to severe. While training has been shown to enable HVs to identify post-natal depression (PND) effectively and reduce the proportion of women at risk, the mechanisms underpinning this success are unclear. This paper reports on the findings of a mixed methods study aimed at examining the impact of a single half day training session on perinatal mental health problems (PMHP) on HVs knowledge, confidence and empowerment in relation to managing PMH.

Methods: Findings from data gathered by Likert Scales and focus group discussions are presented.

Results: Training can empower HVs to identify PMHP beyond PND and plays a vital role in promoting confidence.

Conclusions: This research highlights the potential that training of this type has on service provision and delivery. In a resource-limited service, the feasibility of a brief training package has demonstrated positive results for health visitors, childbearing women and their families.


Childbirth, decision-making, health visitors, perinatal mental health, person-centered healthcare, person-centered mental health, post-natal depression, training package

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