Irish general practitioners' view of perinatal mental health in general practice: a qualitative study.
Perinatal mental health
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PublisherBMC Family Practice
JournalBMC Family Practice
AbstractIdentification of perinatal mental health problems and effective care for women who experience them are important considering the potentially serious impact that they may have on the wellbeing of the woman, her baby, family and wider society. General practitioners (GPs) play a central role in identifying and supporting women and this study aimed to explore GPs' experiences of caring for women with perinatal mental health problems in primary care. The results of this study may provide guidance to inform policy, practice, research and development of curriculum and continuous professional development resources. In-depth semi-structured interviews were undertaken between March and June 2017 with GPs (n = 10) affiliated with a University training programme for general practice in Ireland. Thematic data analysis was guided by Braun and Clarkes (2013) framework. Data were categorised into three themes with related subthemes: identification of perinatal mental health problems, decision making around perinatal mental health and preparation for a role in perinatal mental health. GPs described the multifaceted nature of their role in supporting women experiencing perinatal mental health issues and responding to complex psychological needs. Inbuilt tools on existing software programmes prompted GPs to ask questions relating to perinatal mental health. Limited access to referral options impacts on assessment and care of women. GPs desire further continuous professional development opportunities delivered in an online format and through monthly meetings and conference sessions. GPs require access to culturally sensitive; community based perinatal mental health services, translation services and evidence based perinatal psychological interventions. A standardised curriculum on perinatal mental health for trainee GPs needs to be established to ensure consistency across primary care and GP education should incorporate rotations in community and psychiatry placements.
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