Access to Mental Healthcare Services for Black Women during Perinatal Period – A Scoping Review

  •  Janet Kemei    
  •  Mary Asirifi    
  •  Jody Nelson    
  •  Emily M. Khalema    
  •  Augustina T. Adekoya    
  •  Oluwaseun O. Satimehin    


BACKGROUND: Black women in Canada are at higher risk of poor mental health outcomes; this is associated with disparities such as poor access to healthcare and aggravated by racial discrimination and poor living conditions.

OBJECTIVES: This study aims to investigate the extent and nature of literature on access to mental healthcare services for Black women during the perinatal period in regions outside of Africa and the Caribbean.

METHODS: We conducted a systematic article search using Medline, Cumulative Index for Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL); PsycINFO; ProQuest Public Health Database. The search strategy based on the following aspects: 1) Perinatal mental health, specifically maternal mental health 2) People of color, specifically Black people of African descent, or the African diaspora 3) Experiences with mental healthcare, specifically access and utilization. Arksey & O’Malley’s framework for conducting scoping reviews was chosen. The included studies met the following criteria: 1) articles that focused on Black Women during perinatal period living in regions outside of African and the Caribbean, 2) studies with topics related to mental health services among Black women during perinatal period.

RESULTS: n=12 articles met the inclusion criteria. The following themes were identified from the analysis of literature: 1) Disparities in utilization of mental healthcare services, 2) Spirituality, Faith, and Religion, 3) Accessibility of mental healthcare services.

CONCLUSION: There is a paucity of evidence about the mental health of prenatal and postnatal Black women living outside Africa and the Caribbean in countries other than the US, the UK, and Canada. 

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