Publication Date


Document Type


Publication Title

Mental Health and Prevention






Background: Perinatal depression is a significant maternal mental health issue in sub-Saharan Africa. Because of the severe shortage of mental health specialists in this region, healthcare workers can be trained to deliver mental health services. Yet, little research has examined their views about maternal mental health. Aims: To help inform the development of a perinatal depression screening program, the aim of this pilot study was to explore the knowledge and understanding of perinatal depression among healthcare workers in rural Kenya. Methods: Fourteen healthcare workers participated in focus group interviews. Results: Content analysis of interview data yielded three primary themes: 1) healthcare workers’ knowledge and understanding of perinatal depression, 2) symptoms of perinatal depression, and 3) identification of perinatal mental health help-seeking resources and barriers in a rural community. Additionally, healthcare workers used a hierarchical approach to manage perinatal depressive symptoms, first by using available resources at the clinic, followed by psychiatric referral as indicated. Conclusions: Healthcare professionals may use study findings to enhance awareness of barriers and stigma associated with perinatal depression and to create a culturally sensitive mental health program for women in this rural community.

Funding Sponsor

San José State University


Barriers, Focus groups, Healthcare workers, Kenya, Perinatal care, Perinatal depression


This is the Version of Record and can also be read online here.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.