INDIVIDUAL
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Fear of Judgement

Fear of judgement from others is another barrier to women deciding to seek help or disclosing symptoms, and to implementing and delivering care successfully.​

  • Fear of being seen as a bad mum.

  • Fear of social services.

Fear of being seen as a bad mum

The fear of being seen as a bad mum can act as a barrier to perinatal mental health care​.

"With my health visitor, I try not to let too much out, because then she won’t think I am a bad mum​​".

Evidence level: Moderate​

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

Key literature: ​

Button S, et al. 2017

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Fear of social services

Fear of social services involvement can act as a barrier to perinatal mental health care​.

"I didn’t want anyone’s help to be honest after I had [my previous child]. I was so frightened that people would think I couldn’t cope and take her off me​."​

​Evidence level: High​

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

​Key literature: ​

Megnin-Viggars O, et al. 2015

Recommendations

We recommend the development an NHS Mental Health Campaign focused on stigma reduction of perinatal mental illness. ​

We recommend the development of information aimed at increasing awareness of perinatal mental 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 PMI​.

  • How they are common, and when to seek help​.

  • Causes​.

  • How to access professional support. ​

  • Services available​.

  • Maternity professionals and their role in PMH care​.

  • Myth busters on social services:

    • For example, an analysis of reasons child protection plans were put in place in England in 2019 shows the most common reason was abuse or neglect (54.4%). Parent’s disability or illness only counted for 2.5% of referrals. ​