Rebecca Webb talks about reliable and valid measures that practitioners can use to assess parents’ wellbeing during a child’s early years
Postnatal mental health problems are thought to affect around 10-20% of women (Mann, Gilbody and Adamson, 2010) and around 8% of men (Cameron, Sedoc and Tomfohr-Madsenl, 2016 ; Parfitt and Ayers, 2014).
Research suggests that if a parent suffers from postnatal mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this can have long lasting consequences for their child’s development (Garthus-Niegel et al, 2017 ; Goodman et al, 2011 ; O’Donnell et al , 2014). By identifying parents with mental health problems in the early years (when their child is aged 0-5), we could reduce the negative impact.
Within the NHS women are screened for depression and anxiety for up to a year after they give birth, but this leaves out fathers and women who suffer from mental health problems for longer than a year after their baby is born.
I worked on a systematic review of the literature, aiming to identify which measures could be used to assess parental wellbeing in both mothers and fathers up to 5 years after their child’s birth. In this blog I’ll be summarising the findings.