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Depression Research and Treatment
Volume 2011, Article ID 320605, 7 pages
Research Article

Screening and Referral for Postpartum Depression among Low-Income Women: A Qualitative Perspective from Community Health Workers

1Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 3535 Market Street, Suite 1230, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
2Research Department, Maternity Care Coalition, 2000 Hamilton Street, Suite 205, Philadelphia, PA 19130, USA
3Department of Psychology, La Salle University, 1900 West Olney Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19141, USA
4Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 3535 Market Street, 6th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

Received 1 November 2010; Accepted 1 March 2011

Academic Editor: John R. Seeley

Copyright © 2011 Rhonda C. Boyd et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Postpartum depression is a serious and common psychiatric illness. Mothers living in poverty are more likely to be depressed and have greater barriers to accessing treatment than the general population. Mental health utilization is particularly limited for women with postpartum depression and low-income, minority women. As part of an academic-community partnership, focus groups were utilized to examine staff practices, barriers, and facilitators in mental health referrals for women with depression within a community nonprofit agency serving low-income pregnant and postpartum women. The focus groups were analyzed through content analyses and NVIVO-8. Three focus groups with 16 community health workers were conducted. Six themes were identified: (1) screening and referral, (2) facilitators to referral, (3) barriers to referral, (4) culture and language, (5) life events, and (6) support. The study identified several barriers and facilitators for referring postpartum women with depression to mental health services.