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Maternal mental health problems affect up to 20% of women, with potentially deleterious effects to the mother and family. To address this serious problem, a Maternal Mental Health Program (MMHP) using a shared care approach was developed. A shared care approach can promote an efficient use of limited specialized maternal mental health services, strengthen collaboration between the maternal mental health care team and primary care physicians, increase access to maternal mental health care services, and promote primary care provider competence in treating maternal mental health problems.
The purpose of this research was to evaluate the impact of a MMHP using a shared care approach on maternal anxiety and depression symptoms of participants, the satisfaction of women and referring physicians, and whether the program met the intents of shared care approach (such as quick consultation, increased knowledge, and confidence of primary care physicians).
We used a pre and post cross-sectional study design to evaluate women’s depression and anxiety symptoms and the satisfaction of women and their primary care health provider with the program.
Depression and anxiety symptoms significantly improved with involvement with the program. Women and physicians reported high levels of satisfaction with the program. Physician knowledge and confidence treating maternal mental health problems improved.
Shared care can be an effective and efficient way to provide maternal mental health care in primary health care settings where resources are limited.
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