Contemplating help-seeking in perinatal psychological distress - A meta-ethnography
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionSorsa, M. A., Kylmä, J., & Bondas, T. E. (2021). Contemplating Help-Seeking in Perinatal Psychological Distress—A Meta-Ethnography. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(10), 5226. 10.3390/ijerph18105226
Perinatal psychological distress (PPD) may cause delays in help-seeking in the perinatal period, which is crucial for families with small children. Help-seeking theories focus on rational processes of behavior wherein ‘help-seeking’ is viewed as a decision-making process, in which action is preceded by recognizing a problem. We identified the phase prior to actual help-seeking actions as a life situation and a phenomenon through which to gain a deeper understanding from women’s own perspectives. The aim of this study was to integrate and synthesize knowledge of women’s experiences of contemplating seeking help for PPD. We chose interpretative meta-ethnography by Noblit and Hare (1988) and implemented eMERGe guidelines in reporting. The search was performed systematically, and the 14 included studies were evaluated with Critical Appraisal Skills Programme checklist (CASP). We identified seven themes and a metaphor in a lines-of-argument synthesis, showing that contemplating help-seeking is a multidimensional phenomenon. We did not observe a straightforward and linear process (as previous research suggests) but instead a complex process of contemplating help-seeking. A clinical implication is that service providers should work with outreach and develop their tools to connect with mothers with PPD. Another suggestion is to improve training in mental health literacy prior to or during pregnancy.