Falling through the gaps: perinatal mental health and general practice

KHAN Lorraine
Centre for Mental Health
Publication year:
Place of publication:

Using survey data from 1,547 women and 43 GPs, this report looks at common perinatal mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety and women’s experiences of disclosure, identification, help-seeking and support with particular reference to the role of the general practitioner. It also draws on interviews with four mothers, three GPs and a review of the literature. Key barriers in accessing support were poor identification of mental health problems; disclosure of problems to GPs and the need for improved access to effective intervention, treatment and support. The report found that women fear disclosing distress to their GPs or other professionals. GPs have fewer and shorter consultations with women during and in the year after pregnancy. And many doctors do not know how to respond effectively or lack confidence in their ability to achieve timely access to local psychological therapy services. The report makes recommendations for action from the next government, NHS England and clinical commissioning groups across England to invest in improved perinatal mental health support nationwide. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
surveys, general practitioners, mothers, pregnancy, mental health problems, postnatal depression, access to services, intervention, disclosure, therapy and treatment, primary care;
Content type:
United Kingdom
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