• Help-seeking for perinatal mental health: South Asian women’s experiences in Luton

      Moghul, Fariha (University of Bedfordshire, 2018-09-06)
      The objective was to identify the current care pathway for Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) in Luton, and to explore South Asian women’s views on factors that influence help-seeking with a view to making recommendations to local service development (LBC, BLMK). Method Focus groups were used to explore the factors (barriers and enablers) that influenced the help-seeking of local South Asian women for perinatal mental health. 5 focus groups (FG) were conducted with n=17 women, from various South Asian countries and ethnic subgroups, all of whom had children who had been born locally. Luton has a large ethnic population in areas of high social and material deprivation, with a fast growing birth rate, placing them at increased risk of perinatal mental illness (PMI), but conversely has low levels of reported mental illness from within these areas. Findings The findings indicate that community; extended family, religious and cultural beliefs have a significant impact on the development, recognition and treatment of PMI, forming a complicated mesh of considerations that need to be integrated when designing local PMH services for differing populations. Conclusion Improving healthcare engagement may require a three pronged approach of; developing more culturally attuned services; a community social awareness programme endorsed by community leaders and; a socio-healthcare programme to sustain healthy spousal and familial relationships and change cultural attitudes towards motherhood to help prevent the development of PMI. These changes may reduce stress in the post-partum year, where caring for a new baby means that illnesses are more likely to develop and contribute to healthy and positive family relationships, with long-term health, social and life trajectory benefits for the family, community and society in general.