As healthcare professionals, reflecting on the care and support provided to new parents can help us think about different ways to improve our practice and reduce disclosure stigma. We can identify ways that can help new parents feel more comfortable with disclosing their experiences. Common barriers to supporting people with perinatal mental illness (PMI) include:
Healthcare professionals are in a unique position to identify and assess risk factors, which is fundamental to the early identification of PMI. Furthermore, healthcare professionals also need to ensure that they are proving a supportive, non-judgemental and open environment that can facilitate disclosure as this is fundamental to providing appropriate support to families.
As well considering the manner in which we approach parents during clinical practice, we can also reflect on how we think, feel and talk about perinatal metal illness and thus reduce the impact of social stigma:
By creating a respectful and non-judgemental environment, we can also support parents to recognise and challenge their self-stigma. This can be done by providing reassurance, validation and acknowledging their experiences and perception.