Launch of the WHO guide for integrating perinatal mental health into maternal and child health services


Life-changing times like pregnancy, childbirth, and the start of parenthood can be stressful for women and their partners. As a result, women may go through a period of poor mental health or witness a worsening of previous mental health conditions.

Nearly one in five women will suffer from a mental health problem during pregnancy or within a year of giving birth. Among women with perinatal mental disorders, 20% will have suicidal thoughts or engage in acts of self-harm. Ignoring mental health not only jeopardizes the health and well-being of women, but also impacts the physical and emotional development of infants.

The importance of screening, diagnosis and management of PMH conditions in maternal and child health (MCH) services has been highlighted in the Nurturing Care Frameworkthe WHO recommendations on maternal and newborn care for a positive postnatal experience and the WHO guideline on improving early childhood development.

This new WHO guide for integrating perinatal mental health into maternal and child health services provides the best available information aimed at helping MCH providers identify symptoms of mental health problems and respond in a way appropriate to their local and cultural context. The guide offers an evidence-based approach to planning the integration of perinatal mental health care into MCH services and evaluating its impact. Effective integration requires, for example, a core team to oversee integration, a situation analysis and needs assessment to identify a feasible set of interventions that meet the needs of women in the perinatal period, and a adequate training and supervision of labor to deliver services.

MCH services during the perinatal period represent a unique opportunity to support women in a respectful and stigma-free environment, leading to increased attendance and better engagement in care for women and their babies and greater well-being. being and to the advancement of society.


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