• Women's Health Research
Research Article

Psychological and Psychosocial Interventions for Improving the Mental Health of Women Admitted to Mother and Baby Units in the United Kingdom

Women’s Health Research [2018;2(1):29-41]
Received: 23 July 2017, Accepted: 16 May 2018, Published: 21 May 2018

Objective: To explore whether and what type of structured psychological interventions to improve mental health were offered to women admitted to Mother and Baby Units in the United Kingdom (UK).

Background: Mother and Baby Units (MBUs) in the UK allow for joint admissions of mothers and their babies in situations when a mother is experiencing severe mental health problems that require assessment and intervention. In addition to one-to-one, formulation-driven psychological therapy, a variety of structured and manualised psychological interventions may be suitable for use in this context. An overview of interventions being offered would allow for sharing of best practice.

Method: As part of this questionnaire-based survey, 17 MBUs in the UK were contacted and ward staff were asked to provide information on structured psychological interventions that they offered to mothers on their ward.  Information on barriers to and facilitators of offering structured psychological interventions was also collected.

Results: Ten (58%) MBUs completed the survey. Most offered several different psychological interventions in addition to one-to-one, formulation-driven therapy. As expected, interventions varied according to clinical psychology expertise and patient need. Staff in seven of the ten MBUs surveyed said that they were interested in offering more in the way of psychological interventions to improve maternal mental health. However, staff also identified challenges to implementing these interventions, including some mothers being too unwell or reluctant to engage and their patients’ relatively short admission times.

Conclusions: This survey identified a number of psychological and psychosocial interventions that were used on MBUs to improve maternal mental health. Given the challenges of delivering interventions on MBUs, the flexible delivery of any interventions was highlighted to meet the needs of the mothers amidst ward acuity.

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