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Experiences of Perinatal Mental Health Care among Minority Ethnic Women during the COVID-19 Pandemic in London: A Qualitative Study

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Sabrina Pilav, Abigail Easter, Sergio A. Silverio, Kaat De Backer, Sushma Sundaresh, Sara Roberts, Louise Howard

Original languageEnglish
Article number1975
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number4
Early online date10 Feb 2022
DOIs
Accepted/In press31 Jan 2022
E-pub ahead of print10 Feb 2022
Published10 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Funding: Abigail Easter, Professor Louise Howard Kaat De Backer, and Sergio A. Silverio from King’s College London are all supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration South London (NIHR ARC South London) at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. Kaat De Backer was supported by NIHR East of England Applied Research Collaboration. Sabrina Pilav and the wider service evaluation were funded through the NHS perinatal service we worked with. Publisher Copyright: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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Abstract

(1) Background: Approximately one in five women will experience mental health difficulties in the perinatal period. Women from ethnic minority backgrounds face a variety of barriers that can prevent or delay access to appropriate perinatal mental health care. COVID-19 pandemic restrictions created additional obstacles for this group of women. This study aims to explore minority ethnic women’s experiences of perinatal mental health services during COVID-19 in London. (2) Methods: Eighteen women from ethnic minority backgrounds were interviewed, and data were subject to a thematic analysis. (3) Results: Three main themes were identified, each with two subthemes: ‘Difficulties and Disruptions to Access’ (Access to Appointments; Pandemic Restrictions and Disruption), ‘Experiences of Remote Delivery’ (Preference for Face-to-Face Contact; Advantages of Remote Support); and ‘Psychosocial Experiences’ linked to COVID-19 (Heightened Anxiety; Social Isolation). (4) Conclusions: Women from ethnic minority backgrounds experienced disrupted perinatal mental health care and COVID-19 restrictions compounding their mental health difficulties. Services should take women’s circumstances into account and provide flexibility regarding remote delivery of care.

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