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Perinatal mental health screening and assessment


1st supervisor: Dr Rose Coates

2nd supervisor: Prof Susan Ayers

Research Centre

Maternal and Child Health Research

Project description

Mental health problems affect up to one in five women during pregnancy and the first year after birth and cost the UK £8.1 billion for every year of babies born. Common mental health problems include anxiety, depression, stress-related conditions and adjustment disorders. Mental health problems during this time can have a negative impact on women, their partners and children. They are also one of the leading causes of maternal death. It is therefore important to identify women quickly and provide treatment where needed. Despite this, about half of women with perinatal mental health problems do not come to the attention of healthcare services, and still fewer receive treatment. Effective screening and assessment is critical in order to identify and treat women.

This PhD research will be conducted as part of a programme of research to identify the best way to screen for and assess perinatal mental health problems. This programme includes consideration of how we conceptualise and define screening and perinatal mental health; varying evidence for the effectiveness of population screening and diversity of consensus; identifying the best methods of assessment; and barriers to effective assessment and how assessment relates to treatment. These challenges have implications for research and clinical practice both nationally and internationally.

The successful candidate for this PhD will work in the perinatal mental health research team at City, University of London, and collaborate with researchers and healthcare services across the UK. Findings will inform future development and practice in perinatal mental health screening and assessment.

If you would like to have an informal discussion please contact Rose.Coates@city.ac.uk.