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Deciding to seek help

There are two steps to women deciding to seek help. These are recognising that something is wrong and having the knowledge and understanding to know where to go to seek help.​

  •  Supported to recognise something was wrong.

  • Not knowing what services are available.

 Supported to recognise something was wrong

When women are supported to recognise something was wrong, this acts as a facilitator to women perinatal mental health care. ​

"That’s when I thought, you know: “Something is really wrong here, I need to go to the doctors if I’m thinking about killing myself.”​"

Evidence level: Moderate​

​Parts of the care pathway affected: Deciding to consult.

Key literature: ​

Button S, et al. 2017

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Not knowing what services are available

Women not knowing what services are available and where to go to seek help may be a barrier to perinatal mental health care.

". . .you don’t know where to go, what to do, who to trust…".

​Evidence level: Low​

​Parts of the care pathway affected: Deciding to consult.

​Key literature: ​

Megnin-Viggars O, et al. 2015


We recommend the development of information aimed at increasing awareness of perinatal mental health illness such as (1) infographics/leaflets disseminated through maternity services, primary care, third sector organisations (e.g. NCT), and antenatal classes (2) short animations & videos disseminated via social media on:​

  • Symptoms of different perinatal mental illnesses​.

  • The best way to cope with symptoms and when to seek help​.

We recommend this information is developed by individual trusts, or third-party organisations (e.g., the NCT) in collaboration with the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) Perinatal Mental Health Themes, The Perinatal Mental Health Network Scotland, the National Managed Clinical Network, and the Royal Colleges.

We have provided some guidance for women navigating an imperfect system here.

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