Objectives: The objectives were to examine patients' perspectives on patient-, provider- and systems-level barriers and facilitators to addressing perinatal depression in outpatient obstetric settings. We also compare the views of patients and perinatal health care professionals.
Method: Four 90-min focus groups were conducted with women 3-36 months after delivery (n=27) who experienced symptoms of perinatal depression, anxiety or emotional distress. Focus groups were transcribed, and resulting data were analyzed using a grounded theory approach.
Results: Barriers to addressing perinatal depression included fear of stigma and loss of parental rights, negative experiences with perinatal health care providers and lack of depression management knowledge/skills among professionals. Facilitators included psychoeducation, peer support and training for professionals.
Conclusions: Patients perceive many multilevel barriers to treatment that are similar to those found in our previous similar study of perinatal health care professionals' perspectives. However, patients and professionals do differ in their perceptions of one another. Interventions would need to close these gaps and include an empathic screening and referral process that facilitates discussion of mental health concerns. Interventions should leverage strategies identified by both patients and professionals, including empowering both via education, resources and access to varied mental health care options.
Keywords: Barriers; Depression; Facilitators; Perinatal; Treatment.