The experiences of women who have accessed a perinatal and infant mental health service: a qualitative investigation
Eliza Davis recently graduated with a Master of Clinical Psychology from the University of Newcastle. She undertook her research with Dominiek Coates and Linda Campbell at the Perinatal Infant Mental Health (PIMH) service in Gosford. The research was recently made available online. Read a brief summary here and if you want to read more the article was recently made available online through Advances in Mental Health, go to http://bit.ly/2dZ6D6K
Client feedback is an essential part of service evaluation and can aid both the development and delivery of client-centred services. The current study is an investigation into the experiences of women who have accessed a perinatal infant mental health (PIMH) service that was carried out by Dominiek Coates, Eliza Davis and Linda Campbell. The purpose of the perinatal infant mental health (PIMH) service in Gosford, Central Coast (Australia) is to support vulnerable women to connect with and care for their infant, however it is not well understood how effectively the service supports the needs of the consumers.
We invited one hundred and seventy-six women who were discharged from the service within the past 36 months to participate in the study. Forty of the discharged consumers were able to participate in a semi-structured telephone interview. All the interviews were transcribed verbatim and interpreted using a qualitative methodology known as thematic analysis. A thematic analysis one of the most common forms of analysis in qualitative research and briefly mean that the researchers carefully read and re-read the transcripts of the data. During that process the researchers get increasingly familiar with the data, they generate codes for the different aspects of the interviews and look for themes, that is patterns within the data that allows a description of a phenomenon that is related to the research question.
We identified one superordinate (or overarching) theme in the interviews with the participants. More specifically, the participants talked about the service as a ‘Lifesaver’ and four subordinate themes describing the way in which the service met the needs of the participants were identified. The participants talked about the service in a way that identified themes such as supportive counselling, trauma counselling, specialist interventions and assertive outreach. Overall, it was found that trusting therapeutic relationships with a regular clinician facilitated a safe environment conducive to counselling, which allowed for reflections on trauma, mental health and parenting. Implications: Findings from this study highlight the positive impact of PIMH services on consumers with a particular emphasis on the importance of the consumer–clinician relationship. Importantly, it was also found that dealing with past trauma was critically important for the women to enable them to move on with their lives as mothers.