Improving Maternal Mental Health in South East Asia through assets based approaches

Funded by Medical Research Council.

This proposal is directly relevant to the ODA purpose of promoting welfare and wellbeing of individuals and vulnerable population groups in four LMIC countries that are ODA eligible (Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar). The prevalence of perinatal mental ill health is significantly higher in LMICs compared to HIC with rates estimated to be as high as 50%. Perinatal mental illness has a significant and long term impact on mothers and families health and wellbeing and on the economic growth of societies in LMIC. However, the dearth of epidemiological information and culturally bound conceptions and misconceptions about mental health and ill health, means that perinatal mental ill health remains under recognised and under treated in many LMIC. Our overarching aim is to improve the mental health and wellbeing of mothers, infants and families in South East Asia, through improvement in detection, assessment and treatment of perinatal mental illness. This aim directly relates to the WHO Sustainable Development Goal 3: ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages. This SD goal includes promotion of mental health and wellbeing and is also central to the MRC-NIHR Global Maternal and Neonatal Health Research Priorities.

This collaboration has already met (through CONNECT+ funding) and conducted a research priorities exercise to determine local proprieties for research in the region. This application to MRC Global Maternal and Neonatal Health Call 2019 for Seed Funding is to undertake further networking meetings to develop the strategy and partnerships for future activities and to conduct 3 preliminary studies which will underpin and facilitate future work. These are: 1) Cultural adaptation of an evidence based Train the Trainer programme developed via a European collaboration on mental health to establish future training and capacity building in mental health awareness. 2) To conduct patient experience research in the region across partner countries to establish what women want to support their mental health during the perinatal period and to contribute to assessing the cultural appropriateness of existing screening tools. 3) To conduct a systematic literature review of translated screening tools for detection of common mental health problems during the perinatal period (anxiety and depression) to assess their properties and whether there is a need for the development of new culturally specific tools.

Total award value £91,192.00

People (2)


Professor Margaret Maxwell

Professor Margaret Maxwell

Professor, NMAHP

Professor Helen Cheyne

Professor Helen Cheyne

Personal Chair, NMAHP