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Caregiving and mental health needs in the significant others of women receiving inpatient and home treatment for acute severe postpartum mental illness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Women's Mental Health
Early online date24 Dec 2022
Accepted/In press9 Dec 2022
E-pub ahead of print24 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: We gratefully acknowledge the advice received from our Patient and Public Advisory Group (Clare Dolman, Sarah Spring, Ceri Rose, Liberty Mosse, Amanda Grey, Henry Fay, Kathryn Grant, Maria Bavetta, Eleanor O’Sullivan, Jesse Hunt, Catherine Muhammad, Holly Wright, Antoaneta Sokolova, Diana Rose- chair), our Programme Steering Committee (Rona McCandlish (Chair), Heather O’Mahen, Pauline Slade, Ceri Rose, Sarah Spring and Rosemary Jones), and our Data Monitoring and Ethics Committee (Roch Cantwell (chair), Liz McDonald Clifford, Marian Knight, Ron Gray, Stephen Bremner). We also want to take the opportunity to acknowledge the support of the National Institute of Health Research Clinical Research Networks (NIHR CRN). Funding Information: This paper summarises independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) Programme (Grant Reference Number: RP-PG-1210–12002). This study was supported by the NIHR/Wellcome Trust King’s and Manchester Clinical Research Facility and the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London. The study team acknowledges the support given by the national NIHR Clinical Research Networks. LMH is also supported by an NIHR Research Professorship (NIHR-RP-R3-12–011). Funding Information: LMH chaired the NICE CG192 guidelines development group on antenatal and postnatal mental health in 2012–2014. LMH is the current President of the International Marcé Society. KT was funded from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Programme Grants for Applied Research Programme (Grant Reference Number RP-PG-1210–12002). The other authors have no relevant financial or non-financial interests to disclose. Publisher Copyright: © 2022, The Author(s).


King's Authors


To examine the mental health and caregiving needs of significant others (including partners, parents, friends) to women who received acute psychiatric care either as inpatients or at home during the perinatal period. Cross-sectional survey of 98 significant others of 279 women who participated in a quasi-experimental cohort study of services for mothers with acute severe postpartum mental health diagnoses. Significant others completed an adapted General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ) and Involvement Evaluation Questionnaire (IEQ) to indicate their mental health needs and service use as well as caregiving activities. The mean age of significant others was 38.9 years (range 24–69). 81.6% were male and 81.6% were intimate partners to the women. High levels of unmet mental health needs were detected in significant others, with a majority (51.0%) having a score > 2 on the GHQ-12 indicating caseness for a psychiatric disorder. In those with GHQ-12 caseness indicated, few were receiving help for their difficulties: 22.5% received support from their general practitioner, and 14.3% received help from a social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist or outpatient department. 18.4% received medication for GHQ-12 symptoms. The median sumscore of IEQ surveying caregiving activities in significant others was 18/108. We did not find evidence of differences in GHQ-12 or IEQ scores for significant others to women who received inpatient care versus care at home. Significant others to women with acute severe postpartum psychiatric illness have high levels of unmet mental health needs during the weeks after women are discharged from acute care. Services need to address these needs to optimise outcomes for the whole family.

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