A multi-perspective exploration of health visitors’ family focused practice with mothers who have mental illness and their families: a mixed methods study protocol

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    Background: Maternal mental illness is a major public health issue and
    can adversely affect the whole family. Worldwide, about 10% of
    pregnant women and 13% of women who have just given birth
    experience a mental illness, primarily depression and anxiety.
    Increasingly, research and policy are recognising the benefits of a family
    focused approach to practice. This approach emphasises the family as
    the unit of attention. Currently, little research is available which has
    explored Family Focused Practice (FFP) in health visiting.

    Objective: This study aims to explore health visitors’ FFP with mothers
    who have mental illness and their partners.

    Methods: A mixed-methods sequential explanatory design consisting of
    two phases; quantitative followed by qualitative, will be utilised in this
    study. In the first phase, the Family Focused Mental Health Practice
    Questionnaire will be used to measure the extent of health visitors’
    family focused practice, and factors that enable and hinder it. The
    questionnaire will be distributed to practicing health visitors (n=410). In
    the second phase, semi-structured interviews will be conducted with
    health visitors, mothers who have mental illnesses and their partners, to
    further explore and explain the findings from phase one.

    Discussion: While the evidence base for the adoption of a family focused
    approach is growing, there is little understanding of health visitors’
    family focused practice with mothers who have mental illness and their
    partners. This study will develop understanding of health visitors’ family
    focused practice, from multiple perspectives, that can be used to inform
    practice, education, research and policy.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAdvances in Mental Health
    Journal publication date14 May 2019
    Early online date14 May 2019
    DOIs
    Publication statusEarly online date - 14 May 2019

    ID: 168773502