Beyond screening: assessment of perinatal depression in a perinatal care setting

  • Laura Miller
  • Michele Shade
  • Vamsi Vasireddy
Original Contribution


Although screening for perinatal depression substantially improves detection, screening alone does not improve treatment entry or outcome. This paper summarizes a pilot evaluation of the feasibility and patient acceptance of on-site diagnostic assessment in perinatal care settings for women who screen positive for perinatal depressive symptoms. The model included screening, assessment by the perinatal care provider, an algorithm to guide decisions, guidelines for evidence-based antidepressant treatment, support through phone and webbased consultation, and quality monitoring to track and remedy “missed opportunities” for screening and assessment. A mean of 17.1% of women screened were identified as having depressive symptoms in need of further assessment. Of those identified, a mean of 72.0% received a diagnostic assessment on site. A mean of 1.4% of patients refused on-site diagnostic assessment. It is feasible to incorporate assessment for depression into perinatal care. This paves the way for better engagement in treatment, and better clinical outcomes.


Perinatal depression Screening Pregnancy Postpartum 



This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, Division of Healthy Start and Perinatal Services [P12MC07726: State Grants for Perinatal Depression, FY2004 and FY2006].


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Women’s Mental Health ProgramUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Perinatal Mental Health ProjectUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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