Educational programs and teaching strategies for health professionals responding to women with complex perinatal mental health and psychosocial concerns: A scoping review

Louise Everitt, Virginia Stulz, Rakime Elmir, Virginia Schmied

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Mental health and psychosocial concerns such as domestic violence in pregnancy and after birth are significant issues. Maternal health, social and environmental contexts have a direct influence on child development and long-term health. However, midwives, nurses and other health professionals lack confidence and skills in assessing, supporting and referring women with perinatal psychosocial concerns. Aim and objectives: The aim of the scoping review is to review educational innovations and teaching strategies used to build skills and knowledge in health professionals and students to address psychosocial concerns including perinatal mental health, domestic violence and drug and alcohol misuse. Design: A scoping review was undertaken to help identify the breadth of papers reporting educational innovations and strategies particularly to address psychosocial concerns. Method: Four databases CINAHL, PsychoInfo, PubMed, OvidMedline and the grey literature were searched using a diverse range of terms for papers published in English between January 2009 and December 2020. This yielded 2509 papers and after review, 34 papers were included in the scoping review. Results: The 34 papers in this review found a diversity of educational initiatives and strategies delivered either face-to-face, online or in a blended mode addressing the learning needs of health professionals working with women with complex psychosocial concerns. The following characteristics in the papers were examined; focus of education, design and development, length, target audience including interprofessional focus, self-care, sensitive topics, debriefing, involving lived experience consumers and evaluation measures. Participants: In the studies indicated that they benefited from hearing about the individuals’ lived experiences, opportunities for simulated practice and valued interprofessional learning experiences for both content and teamwork. The emergence of virtual modes offered some innovative and engaging ways to create a safe space for psychosocial education. However, the research does not provide guidance as to the best mode of delivery or length of program Conclusion: This scoping review provides a broad overview of innovative and diverse educational methods and strategies being used in the nursing, midwifery and health disciplines to engage students and practitioners in learning in the areas of perinatal mental health and psychosocial care. Involvement of lived experience consumers in the design and delivery of education programs can positively impact learners’ knowledge and understandings of sensitive psychosocial topics. These diverse approaches could be used to shape the development and evaluation of future education programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103319
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

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