During the perinatal period, from pregnancy up to a year after birth, women can be affected by a number of mental health problems. These include: anxiety, depression and postnatal psychotic disorders. If perinatal mental illnesses go untreated they can have long-term implications for the well-being of women, their babies and families.
This report looks at the perspectives of health visitors and midwives in Northern Ireland who provide a universal service to women and families during the perinatal period. It describes their experiences of identifying and responding to women and families affected by perinatal mental illness. The report highlights considerable challenges that are impacting on the primary care being provided to women and families in Northern Ireland.