Skip to main content

01.12.2012 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2012 Open Access

International Journal of Mental Health Systems 1/2012

Socio-cultural factors surrounding mental distress during the perinatal period in Zambia: a qualitative investigation

International Journal of Mental Health Systems > Ausgabe 1/2012
Lonia Mwape, Teena M McGuinness, Rachael Dixey
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

LM and TN drafted the manuscript. RD participated in revising the manuscript critically for important intellectual content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



The presence of mental distress during pregnancy and after childbirth imposes detrimental developmental and health consequences for families in all nations. In Zambia, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has proposed a more comprehensive approach towards mental health care, recognizing the importance of the mental health of women during the perinatal period.


The study explores factors contributing to mental distress during the perinatal period of motherhood in Zambia.


A qualitative study was conducted in Lusaka, Zambia with nineteen focus groups comprising 149 women and men from primary health facilities and schools respectively.


There are high levels of mental distress in four domains: worry about HIV status and testing; uncertainty about survival from childbirth; lack of social support; and vulnerability/oppression.


Identifying mental distress and prompt referral for interventions is critical to improving the mental health of the mother and prevent the effects of mental distress on the baby.


Strategies should be put in place to ensure pregnant women are screened for possible perinatal mental health problems during their visit to antenatal clinic and referral made to qualified mental health professionals. In addition further research is recommended in order to facilitate evidence based mental health policy formulation and implementation in Zambia.
Über diesen Artikel

Weitere Artikel der Ausgabe 1/2012

International Journal of Mental Health Systems 1/2012 Zur Ausgabe

Neu im Fachgebiet Psychiatrie