The mental health of women and their families is threatened by poverty and violence, especially in the perinatal period. Women with experience of trauma and other social adversities are more vulnerable to perinatal mental disorders, including depression, and less likely to have good mental health.
Women’s abilities to nurture their children and participate in family and community life are diminished by poor mental health and the experience of mental disorders. Perinatal mental health can be improved, however, in any community through cross-sectoral work and partnerships.
Improving mental health for women in the perinatal period requires interventions of several types. Priorities for the health system include early intervention for depression and other mental disorders, gender sensitive clinical care and support for recovery. This work can be done across a range of settings including primary health care services, mother, child and reproductive health settings, and mental health services.
Collaboration with patients and family carers is required in all settings.