File this in the “we-already-knew-this-but-it’s-nice-to-get-it-validated” department:
Candian researchers, Sword, Busser, Ganann, McMillan and Swinton examined women’s “care-seeking” experiences after being given a referral for treatment postpartum depression. In this small study, — Womens Care Seeking Experiences After Referral for Postpartum Depression –– Eighteen women were interviewed to explore the factors that positively and negatively influenced their ability to seek help for PPD.
Clinicians Note: According to the study, factors that hindered their ability to seek help:
1) The tendency to normalize their symptoms
2) Limited understanding of postpartum depression
3) The belief that symptoms might go away on their own
4) Discomfort discussing mental health issues
5) Fears (unspecified)
Factors that were associated with the facilitation of care-seeking were:
1) Symptom awareness
2) Not feeling like oneself
The study further reported that family and friends sometimes interfered with the care seeking because they, too, tended to normalize the symptoms or had misinformation regarding postpartum depression.
Also important to note that care seeking was optimal when women had supportive relationships, follow up, legitimization of postpartum depression Care seeking was facilitated by having established and supportive relationships, outreach and follow-up, legitimization of postpartum depression, and timeliness of care.
Source: Qual Health Res. 2008 Sep;18(9):1161-73.