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Mental Health Needs Assessment in the Management of Perinatal Psychiatric Disorders

Untreated perinatal mental illness is associated with high-risk pregnancy and a wide range of harmful outcomes that threaten the mother, fetus, and child's safety and well-being. Despite the health risks posed by mental disorders during the perinatal period, pregnant women often do not receive adequate or any psychiatric treatment. Also, there is a dearth of research on the psychiatric care of this population. These trends are especially disconcerting given that effective pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatments do exist that can be used safely during the perinatal period. A significant first step in addressing these training and knowledge gaps is to better understand psychiatrists' attitudes about and practices towards perinatal women with mental health and substance use disorders, which is the focus of this initiative.


The purpose of the initiative is to perform a needs assessment via focus group conducted among women with mental and substance use disorders before, during, or within 24 months after pregnancy (pregnant women with MI) and focus groups, roundtable and brief surveys conducted with mental health professionals who treat pregnant women with MI.

Advisory Panel and Focus Groups

Advisory Panel

The initiative will involve 15 Psychiatrists and Non-Physician Behavioral Health (NPBH) clinicians. The panel will inform all aspects of the project, including survey instruments development, focus group questions, and review of the deliverables.

Women Focus Group

The 10–15-member focus group will include pregnant women with MI. Focus group members will be asked to address topics related to caring before, during, and after pregnancy.

Clinician Focus Group

The Clinician focus group will involve 10-15 psychiatrists and other behavioral health clinicians combined with varying levels of experience caring for pregnant women with MI during or shortly after pregnancy.

Clinical Trainee Focus Group

This focus group will involve 10-15 psychiatrists and NPBH trainees (i.e., in the residency or internship component of their programs).

Program Deliverables

  • Update and expand existing recommendations
  • Develop a perinatal psychiatric care toolkit for psychiatrists and NPBH clinicians to better serve this population
  • Formulate educational and training recommendations for psychiatrists and NPBH clinicians


February 15, 2022 to July 31, 2022


For questions or more information, please email [email protected].

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