Document Type


Original Publication Date


Date of Submission

September 2023


Mental health related symptoms and associated experiences in the perinatal period present challenges, particularly regarding identification and appropriate management. Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) screening occurs in clinical settings on a more regular basis than ever before thanks to validated screening measures used at perinatal visits; however, pregnant and parenting individuals report several concerns when completing these screeners and providers report barriers in addressing resultant findings. To address barriers and enhance the PMH screening experience, this team of clinicians and researchers propose a tool – the PMH Connect: a Perinatal Mental Health Screening Connection, Education, and Decision Aid – to be given at the same time as a PMH screener. The PMH Connect provides brief anticipatory guidance about PMH symptoms, normalizing trauma-informed language about prevalence, and provides a connection to resources in a supportive, unobtrusive manner. The PMH Connect helps patients feel heard and supported and provides resources to patients before they need them, decreasing the burden on pregnant and parenting individuals as well as those conducting the screening. The PMH Connect is designed to shift power to patients themselves, as valued experts on their own care team, by offering them connections to existing resources through this simple tool. Our hope is that the PMH Connect will have an impact on many of the barriers to effective PMH screening, assessment, and treatment by improving screening experiences and outcomes, with the ultimate goal of impacting health disparities in PMH screenings and care.

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VCU School of Nursing Publications

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Nursing Commons