Intended for healthcare professionals


Postnatal depression

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 12 December 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1658

Postnatal depression is not being missed in primary care

  1. J P Richards, Professor of primary care
  1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, Cardiff CF37 1DL
  2. Holywell Hospital, Antrim, Northern Ireland

    EDITOR—In their review of postnatal depression Cooper and Murray comment that depression is often missed by primary care teams.1 There are several reasons why this might be the case, even though a reliable tool (the Edinburgh postnatal depression scale) has been available for detecting its presence for over 10 years.2

    When the Edinburgh postnatal depression scale has been used to detect postnatal depression, health visitors have used various strategies to help women, with varying degrees of success. 2 3 Factors that influence the process of screening and caring for women with postnatal depression include health visitors' workload and their willingness to use the Edinburgh postnatal depression scale3 and the readiness of women to be labelled as patients with depression, to accept an intervention by a health visitor,24 or to be referred for further care. 2 3 There is still uncertainty …

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