Perinatal Mental Health Services: A Preliminary Needs Assessment from the Consumer Perspective

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This study is a preliminary community needs assessment of the current status of services for Perinatal Mood Disorders (PMD) including mental health assessment, prevention, and treatment services available to women in Central Washington State. Due to the prevalence rates of PMD and the negative outcomes for women, children and families, it is important that women at risk for PMD be identified and treated. This study surveyed women who gave birth between one to two years ago about their experiences with health care professionals regarding assessment, prevention, and treatment services. Barriers to care were also considered in the assessment. Results indicate a lack of assessment around mental health history, partner relationship, and life stressors; and a lack of prevention services addressing stress management and relationship counseling. The results also showed strengths of the community including breastfeeding support, individual counseling, group counseling, and adjunctive therapies. With a better understanding of service availability and quality from the mother’s perspective, future services may be enhanced.