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Health Professional’s Attributes

Characteristics that some health professionals have, may have a positive impact on whether services are implemented and delivered successfully and whether women disclose their difficulties and access care.​

  • Similar demographic characteristics .

  • Cultural insensitivity .

  • Valued characteristics​

Similar demographic characteristics ​

Health professionals having similar demographic characteristics to women is a facilitator.

"Because she understood what we go through, how our culture is, and how our belief systems are. She could understand us better than anyone else.​"​

Evidence level: ​High

​Parts of the care pathway affected: Deciding to consult, Decision to disclose, Provision of optimal treatment, Women’s experience of treatment​

Key literature: ​

Masood Y, et al. 2015

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Cultural insensitivity ​

Health professionals lacking in cultural sensitivity can be a barrier.​

"I got answers from professionals like, there is nothing wrong with you, go back home stop disturbing us, basically you are wasting our time, and they were horrible . . .I don’t know if they would have said that if I was white." Pakistani mother​.

​Evidence level: Moderate​

​Parts of the care pathway affected: Decision to disclose, Access to treatment, Provision of optimal treatment​.

​Key literature: ​

Watson H, et al. 2019

Valued characteristics​

Health professionals possessing valued characteristics (e.g. being trustworthy, empathetic, kind, caring with a genuine interest) is a facilitator.​

"She doesn’t make little snippy comments about if your house is a mess or something…​She was always there if I have a question or something and she always gets back to me no matter what.​."

​Evidence level: High

​Parts of the care pathway affected: Deciding to consult, Assessment, Decision to disclose, Access to treatment, Provision of optimal treatment, Women’s experience of treatment​.

​Key literature: ​

Doering JJ, et al. 2017


We recommend service managers ensure recruitment of a diverse workforce, and staff positive interest and attitude towards providing high quality care to women. Consider HPs receiving accreditation for providing high quality care, team working, and clear communication​.

We recommend service managers implement perinatal mental health good practice guides. This guide provides information on symptoms of perinatal mental illness, communication skills when discussing perinatal mental illness, what to do if a woman discloses perinatal mental illness and case studies of good practice. ​

We recommend health professionals participate in continuing professional development activities related to perinatal mental health including taking part in high quality training.

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