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Exploring the effects of Migration on Perinatal Mental Health: A Study of Recently Migrated BAME women in the UK

PhD Research Project Proposal

Audrey Nosenga

6 March 2024

Social Sciences - GTA PhD Studentship

Overview

1.

Introduction

2.

Research Background

3.

Research Rational & Objectives

4.

Theoretical Framework

5.

Research Design, Data Collection & Analysis

6.

Research setting & Participants

7.

Research Impact

1. Introduction

What is Perinatal Mental Health?

Perinatal mental health (PMH) problems are those which occur during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a child. Perinatal mental illness affects up to 27% of new and expectant mums and covers a wide range of conditions.NHS England

Keywords:

Perinatal Mental Health, Migration, BAME, Migrant

"It had been quite a difficult pregnancy — I hadn't been very well throughout it...You'd wake up in the morning feeling you didn't want to get out of bed, you felt misunderstood and just very, very low in yourself...but I knew in myself that actually what I needed was space and time to adapt to all the different roles that had come my way".

- Princess Diana, 1995

2. Research Background

The World Health Organisation recognises the critical connection between maternal health and newborn well-being, underlining the fundamental need of ensuring that all women have access to excellent care throughout pregnancy, as well as during and after childbirth. (World Health Organization, 2023).

27%

recent and expecting moms suffer from perinatal mental illness

Perinatal Mental Health disorders encompass a broad spectrum of disorders including anxiety and depression. These mental health problems can have severe, long-lasting impacts on the mother, the child, and the entire family if left untreated (National Health Service England, 2018).

3. Research Rational & Objectives

Rational

25% of births in the UK are to women born outside the country & this demographic is overrepresented in maternal and perinatal mortality statistics (Diabetes UK, 2015). Despite the identification of these risk factors for PMAD, there is limited understanding of how to tailor services to BAME migrant women, preventing them form experiencing a double disadvantage of both increased risk and limited access to treatment.

Objective 1

Investigate the prevalence of perinatal mental health issues among recently migrated BAME women.

Objective 2

Identify specific mental health challenges faced by this demographic.

Objective 3

Explore the intersectionality of socioeconomic, cultural and environmental risk factors that contribute to the increased risk of perinatal mental health issues among recently migrated BAME women.

4. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

THE BIOPSYCHOSOCIAL MODEL

Mental health outcomes are intricately influenced by a combination of factors. These factors encompass the individual's specific needs, the nuanced social context within health and healthcare, and notably, the complex interconnections between the individual's biological processes, which form the foundation of health, and the overarching social and cultural systems that envelop them. (Qui et al., 2021).

THE SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH FRAMEWORK

Structural inequalities, discrimination, and limited access to social support systems negatively impact BAME women's ability to access perinatal mental health care resulting in an increased risk of mental health problems during the perinatal period (Blount et al., 2021). This risk is compounded by stressors such as social isolation, limited familiarity with healthcare systems, insufficient language proficiency, and precarious legal status (Womersley, et al., 2021).

5. Research Design, Data Collection & Analysis

RESEARCH DESIGN

  1. This study will utilize a mixed-methods approach to comprehensively explore perinatal mental health disorders among recently migrated BAME women.
  2. The study will target recently migrated BAME women residing in the UK who are pregnant or have recently given birth up to a year.
  3. Participants will be recruited through purposive sampling (Dudovskiy, 2022), ensuring representation across diverse ethnic groups, socioeconomic statuses, and immigration statuse.

DATA COLLECTION & ANALYSIS

  1. Qualitative ~ In-depth interviews and focus group discussions will be conducted to gather qualitative data on the cultural, socioeconomic, and environmental factors influencing perinatal mental health disorders.
  2. Quantitative ~ Structured surveys will be administered to collect quantitative data on the prevalence of perinatal mental health issues, patterns of healthcare service utilization, and demographic information.

6. Research setting & Participants

Setting

The study will be conducted within a perinatal mental health service in South London which hosts the largest number of migrants among all the regions in the UK (The Migration Observatory, 2022). The number of women from BAME backgrounds living in this area is also set to rise (London Borough of Bexley, 2023)

Participants

The study will target recently migrated BAME women residing in the UK who are pregnant or have recently given birth up to a year. Participants will be recruited through purposive sampling to ensure representation across diverse ethnic groups, socioeconomic statuses, and immigration statuses. Inclusion criteria will encompass women within the first three years of migrationto capture the immediate impact of migration experience on perinatal mental health.

Academia ~ by addressing a critical gap in our understanding of perinatal mental health disorders among migrant BAME women in the UK

7. Research Impact

Findings from this research will contribute to academia, policy and clinical practice in the field of perinatal mental health by:

Policy ~ Policy advocacy; addressing health inequalities; integration of community resources; and Data collection & monitoring

Clinical Practice ~ Improved Screening & Assessment tools; Tailored treatment & support; addressing stigma & barriers to care; and promoting collaborative care.

Thank you!

Any questions?