Influences on mental health and health services accessibility in immigrant women with post‐partum depression: An interpretive descriptive study
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WHAT IS KNOWN ABOUT THE SUBJECT?: Immigrant women in Canada are at greater risk for post-partum depression (PPD) than native-born women. Immigrant women are less likely to have their care needs met as they face multiple barriers to care at both individual and system levels. To date, most PPD research has focused on individual barriers to care, with limited research examining organizational and system level barriers and the uniqueness of immigrant women's post-partum health experiences. WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS TO EXISTING KNOWLEDGE?: This study provides unique insights into immigrant women's perceptions of what influences their post-partum mental health and ability to access services for PPD. Factors contributing to immigrant women's PPD included several social determinants of health, particularly a lack of social support and limited knowledge about PPD and available services. Most helpful services acknowledge women's concerns, build trust, enact cultural competence and help with system navigation. Assessment approaches and organizational wait times created barriers to accessing care. WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE?: Relationship building by providers is foundational to effective care for immigrant women with PPD. Findings highlight the need for mental health practitioners to improve cultural competence when working with diverse ethno-cultural communities and for more effective assistance with system navigation, service integration and timely, flexible and accessible services. Findings have implications for the development of healthy public policy to address perinatal mental health issues amongst immigrant women. Abstract Introduction Immigrant women in Canada are at greater risk for post-partum depression (PPD) than native-born women yet face multiple barriers to care at individual and system levels. Aim To explore factors that contribute to PPD and health service accessibility, and the role of health services in supporting immigrant women with PPD. Methods A qualitative interpretive descriptive design was used. Individual interviews were conducted with 11 immigrant women who had delivered a baby within the previous year and had experienced PPD. Inductive thematic content analysis was conducted. Results Factors contributing to immigrant women's PPD included several social health determinants. Services were most helpful and accessible when providers acknowledged women's concerns, allowed time to build trust, provided culturally competent care and helped with navigating services. Assessment approaches and organizational wait times created barriers to care. Discussion Immigrant women with PPD see relationship building by providers as foundational to providing effective support, enhancing coping and facilitating access to services. Improved communication with diverse ethno-cultural communities and assistance with system navigation, service integration and timely, accessible services are needed. Implications for Practice Findings can inform health service delivery models and the development of healthy public policy to address perinatal mental health issues amongst immigrant women.
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