Migrant women and mental health
Dr Kathleen Markey, Annabel Ogbuagu and Dr Brid O'Brien discuss the need for cultural humility when providing perinatal mental healthcare to migrant women.
Migrant women who are pregnant may have complex experiences before, during and after migration because of political, demographic, socioeconomic and environmental factors, which increases the risk of developing a new or recurrent perinatal mental illness. As one in three pregnant migrant women will develop a perinatal mental illness (Fellmeth et al, 2017), it is a growing public health concern that requires focused attention. Consequently, there has been a renewed emphasis on early identification of perinatal mental illness and prompt healthcare interventions that meet the needs of migrant women (Fair et al, 2020).
Midwives must capitalise on opportunities to raise awareness about perinatal mental health. It is important to offer guidance on accessing specialised services and support when required during all cross-cultural interactions with migrant women. However, this requires staff to have the knowledge, skills and attitudes to provide perinatal mental healthcare in culturally responsive ways. Cultural humility encourages openness, empathy and respect for cultural differences, which is critical for developing culturally responsive approaches to perinatal mental healthcare. This article proposes practical approaches to developing cultural humility as a means of providing culturally responsive perinatal mental healthcare.
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