Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 52, Issue 8, pp 954–963 | Cite as

Managing Life, Motherhood and Mental Health After Discharge from a Mother–Baby Unit: An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis

  • Tracy Jayne ConnertyEmail author
  • Rachel Roberts
  • Anne Sved Williams
Original Paper


Women who are admitted to a mother–baby psychiatric unit during the postnatal period often experience ongoing difficulties after discharge and require support in the community. This study explored the experiences of women following discharge from a mother–baby unit and their use of services and supports in the community. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight women who had been discharged from a mother–baby unit. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the lived experiences of these women, Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis was used to examine the transcripts. The themes identified focused on the transition home from the mother–baby unit as a significant event, the experience of life in the community, and the complex decision-making process involved in community service use. This study provides greater insight into women’s experiences of managing life, motherhood, and mental health in the community and their use of recommended services. Results can inform future post-discharge and transition planning within mother–baby units and inpatient psychiatric facilities.


Mother–baby unit Discharge Mental illness and motherhood Lived experience Service use 



We would like to thank all the women who took time out of their busy lives to share their experience and participate in this study. Thank you also to the staff of Helen Mayo House, particularly Chris Yelland and Teresa Girke, for your support and assistance with the long process of recruitment.

Conflict of interest

There are no known conflicts of interest present in this research and the authors certify their responsibility for the conduct of the study and development of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tracy Jayne Connerty
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Rachel Roberts
    • 1
  • Anne Sved Williams
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Health Sciences, School of PsychologyThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Northern Community Mental Health ServiceSA HealthSalisburyAustralia
  3. 3.Perinatal and Infant Mental HealthWomen’s and Children’s HospitalAdelaideAustralia

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