Seeking help for postpartum depression in the Israeli Jewish orthodox community: factors associated with use of professional and informal helpedit
Postpartum depression (PPD) has potentially devastating personal and familial consequences. However, very few women receive treatment, either professional or informal. Use patterns and factors associated with both professional and informal help for PPD have not yet been investigated. This study examined factors associated with use of professional and informal help for PPD in an Israeli sample that included women from secular, traditional, orthodox, and ultra-orthodox Jewish religious groups. One to two days postpartum, 1,059 women were recruited from a large hospital in Jerusalem, Israel, and completed an initial survey; 805 women (76%) participated at the 6-week follow-up; 94 women (12%) screened positive for PPD symptoms at the 6-week follow-up and were referred for help; and 88 women completed the 6-month postpartum follow-up interview. Of the women referred for help, 69% used some sort of help, with 24% using professional help and 45% using informal help. Confidence in mental health professionals and higher levels of PPD symptomatology were associated with use of professional help. Recognition of personal need for professional psychological help was negatively associated with use of informal help. Findings from this study highlight the importance of routine screening for PPD and culturally sensitive referrals using informal sources of help.