Infant Ment Health J. 2017 Jul;38(4):523-535. doi: 10.1002/imhj.21656. Epub 2017 Jun 15.


This article describes the needs and challenges faced by home visitors, supervisors, and clients when conducting perinatal depression screening. Home visitors (n = 11), supervisors (n = 5), and clients (n = 9) representing rural and urban practice settings in Wisconsin were recruited into three separate focus groups. Themes were identified from the transcribed audio-recorded interviews using content analysis. Results indicate that a trusting relationship was leveraged to facilitate depression screening and referral. Home visitors personalized care to a client's context and to protect confidentiality. Home-visiting practice demanded flexibility and negotiation in decision-making with clients and families. Coordinating access to mental health evaluation in areas of limited access was a common challenge. Participants reported a need for further training on safety management. With adequate training and support, home visitors are well-positioned to promote access to mental health services in vulnerable families to support infant mental health.

Keywords: Depression; Hausbesucher; depresión; depression; dépression; home visitors; mental health; perinatal; postpartal; postparto; postpartum; psychische Gesundheit; périnatal; salud mental; santé mentale; visitantes a casa; visiteurs à domicile; うつ病; 周産期; 圍產期; 家庭訪問; 家訪員; 心理健康; 抑鬱; 產後; 産後; 精神保健.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services / standards
  • Mental Health Services / supply & distribution*
  • Needs Assessment
  • Perinatal Care / methods*
  • Perinatal Care / organization & administration
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology*