Impact of education on women with perinatal depression
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science
Objective. To assess the impact that education through participation in a depression screening program has on mental health literacy and help seeking behavior in perinatal women. Methods. Responses to a hypothetical case of depression, help seeking behavior, and screening levels for risk of depression using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale were compared between two groups of postnatal women; one group who had participated in a screening program and the other who had not. Those who participated in the screening program were also asked to evaluate the educational material they had received. Results. A total of 1309 women, broadly representative of postnatal women, answered one or more questionnaires. Those who had participated in the screening program were better able to recognize depression in a hypothetical case, and also assess their own mental state more appropriately. Those women who had been part of the program and did not score high on the EPDS were less likely to seek help, were more satisfied when they did and tended to benefit more from the educational booklet. Conclusions. Participation in a screening program with educational material had significant benefits for mental health literacy and the health service use for perinatal women at risk for depression.