Perceived barriers to perinatal mental health care utilization : a qualitative study

Laubscher, Jessica (2013-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The topic of perinatal depression (i.e. depression during and after pregnancy) remains a subject of continued research interest, as a broad literature body reports that a large proportion of women suffering from this mental disorder do not receive appropriate treatment. This is worrisome, firstly, because mental health treatment is often readily available to the public and at no cost. Secondly, untreated perinatal depression not only holds dangerous consequences for the mother but also for the infant and the rest of the family. It is therefore important to identify those factors that act as barriers to mental health care utilization for perinatal depression. Although this is a persistent problem within the South African context, to date, little is known about the barriers to the utilization of available mental health services experienced among pregnant South African women. For this reason, the Perinatal Mental Health Project (PMHP) aims to provide mental health services at the same location where women receive obstetric services. However, despite their efforts, the number of women who decline available treatment is still of great concern. The present study offers a unique perspective on counselling for perinatal depression appointment-keeping barriers as it provides a holistic view of these barriers that exist not only within the women but also in their multi-levelled environments. Secondly, it addresses the problem of nonattendance to mental health care treatment offered by the PMHP and consequently also addresses the gap in South African research on the topic. The sample for this study was selected from PMHP files of those patients who failed to attend scheduled counselling appointments. The participants included in this study were selected by means of purposeful sampling to participate in face-to-face and telephonic semi-structured interviews. Participants were assured of confidentiality and anonymity. The semi-structured interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed after which transcriptions were entered into MS Word for textual analysis. Transcriptions were thematically analysed. The main themes that emerged from the present study included individual-related barriers, social-related barriers, institution-related barriers, community-related barriers and poverty-related barriers. The results of the present study reflect the motivations for depressive pregnant women to decline available and free mental health services provided by the PMHP, according to five main themes. These themes were then discussed according to Bronfenbrenner’s (1977; 1979) Ecological Systems Theory, which categorised the main themes identified according to the different systems operating within the patient’s environment, i.e. the individual-, micro-, meso-, exo-, and macrosystem. The individual system comprised the individual-related barriers, which included poor mental health, and ambivalent feelings toward the pregnancy. The microsystem comprised the social-related barriers, which included low social support and self-help strategies. Community-related barriers were considered within the mesosystem of the patient’s ecological environment, with stigma and pity as sub-barrier. The exosystem comprised the institution-related barriers, including referral protocol barriers, lack of information provided by the nurses, and nurses’ attitudes as experienced by participants. Lastly, poverty-related barriers were considered within the macrosystem, with financial life hardship, constant child-care demands, and transportation barriers as sub-barriers. The significance of this study lies in the original perspective offered on mental health care appointment-keeping behaviour within the South African context. Future research could, in addition to conducting interviews with hospital patients, include health care professionals and focus groups as this will allow for triangulation of the perspectives of all significant players. Also, having identified the problems and concerns with regards to attending counselling appointments, future research direction may be aimed at creating interventions designed to reduce the identified barriers to mental health care service use.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Perinatale depressie (d.w.s. depressie voor en na swangerskap) bly ʼn onderwerp van voortdurende navorsings belang, aangesien ʼn breë navorsingsveld aandui dat ʼn groot proporsie van vroue wat aan hierdie geestesversteuring lei, nie die gepaste behandeling ontvang nie. Dit is kommerwekkend, eerstens, aangesien behandeling vir geestesgesondheid meestal openlik verkrygbaar is aan almal sonder enige koste. Tweedens, onbehandelde perinatale depressie hou nie slegs gevaarlike gevolge vir die moeder in nie, maar ook vir die baba en die res van die gesin. Dit is daarom belangrik om daardie faktore te identifiseer wat as hindernisse optree tot geestesgesondheid sorg diensgebruik vir perinatale depressie. Alhoewel dit ʼn voortdurende probleem binne die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks is, is daar tot op hede geen navorsing wat hindernisse tot gebruik van beskikbare geestesgesondheidsdienste bekend gemaak nie, veral wat ervaar word onder swanger Suid-Afrikaanse vroue nie. Vir hierdie rede, beoog die Perinatal Geestesgesondheid Projek (Perinatal Mental Health Project - PMHP) om geestesgesondheidsdienste te lewer by dieselfde plek waar vroue verloskundige dienste kan ontvang. Nietemin, ten spyte van hul pogings, is die getal vroue wat beskikbare behandeling van die hand wys steeds van groot kommer. Dié studie bied ʼn unieke perspektief op hindernisse tot berading vir perinatale depressie afspraak-ooreenkoms gedrag, aangesien dit ʼn algehele uitkyk bied op hindernisse wat nie slegs binne die vroue bestaan nie, maar ook in hul veelvlakkige omgewings bestaan. Tweedens, spreek dit die probleem van nie-bywoning van geestesgesondheidsbehandelingsdienste wat aangebied word deur die PMHP aan en gevolglik ook die gaping wat binne Suid-Afrikaanse navorsing rakende dié onderwerp bestaan. Die steekproef vir die studie was gekies van PMHP lêers van daardie pasiënte wat nie hul geskeduleerde terapie afsprake bygewoon het nie. Die deelnemers ingesluit in die studie is deur middel van doelgerigte-steekproefneming geselekteer om aan aangesig-tot-aangesig of telefoniese semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude deel te neem. Deelnemers is van hul vertroulikheid en anonimiteit van die proses verseker. Die semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude was oudio-opgeneem en transkripsies is daarvan gemaak, waarna die transkripsies in MS Word gelaai is vir tekstuele analise. Transkripsies is tematies geanaliseer. Die hooftemas wat na vore gekom het, sluit in individuele-verwante hindernisse, sosiale-verwante hindernisse, institusie-verwante hindernisse, gemeenskapsverwante hindernisse en armoede-verwante hindernisse. Resultate van dié studie reflekteer die motiverings van depressiewe swanger vroue om beskikbare en gratis geestesgesondheidsdienste wat verskaf is deur die PMHP van die hand te wys, volgens die vyf hooftemas. Hierdie temas is toe volgens Bronfenbrenner (1972) se Ekologiese Sisteemteorie verdeel in die verskillende sisteme teenwoording in die pasiënt se omgewing, naamlik die individuele-, mikro-, meso-, ekso-, en makrosisteem. Die individuele sisteem het die individuele-verwante hindernisse ingesluit, wat swak geestesgesondheid, en teenstrydige gevoelens teenoor die swangerskap omvat het. Die mikrosisteem het die sosiale-verwante hindernisse ingesluit, wat swak sosiale ondersteuning, en self-help strategieë omvat het. Gemeenskapsverwante hindernisse is binne die mesosisteem van die pasiënt se ekologiese omgewing beskou, en het stigma en jammerte as sub-hindernisse ingesluit. Die eksosisteem het die institusie-verwante hindernisse ingesluit, wat verwysing protokol hindernisse, gebrek aan inligting verskaf deur die verpleegsters, en verpleegsters se houdings soos ervaar deur die deelnemers omvat het. Laastens is die armoede-verwante hindernisse binne die makrosisteem beskou, en het finansiële lewens swaarkry, konstante kindersorg eise, en vervoer-verwante struikelblokke as sub-hindernisse ingesluit het. Die belang van dié studie lê in die oorspronklike perspektief van geestesgesondheidsbehandeling dienste afspraak-ooreenkoms gedrag binne die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks, wat aangebied is. Toekomstige navorsing kan, bykomend tot die voer van onderhoude met hospitaal pasiënte, fokus daarop om gesondheidsorg kenners en fokus groepe in te sluit, aangesien dit die triangulasie van perspektiewe moontlik maak van al die belangrike rolspelers. Ook, aangesien die probleem en bekommernisse rakende bywoning van terapie afsprake reeds geïdentifiseer is, mag toekomstige navorsing in die rigting beweeg met die doel om intervensies te omskep wat beoog om die geïdentifiseerde hindernisse tot geestesgesondheidsorg diensgebruik te verminder.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/79988
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