Publication - Strategy/plan

Perinatal mental health - peer support: action plan – 2020 to 2023

Published: 18 Mar 2021

The Peer Support in Perinatal Mental Health Action Plan is a follow up to Review of the evidence for Peer Support in Perinatal Mental Health Report which was published in October 2020.

Perinatal mental health - peer support: action plan – 2020 to 2023
5. Integrate Robust Evaluation

5. Integrate Robust Evaluation

International evidence from large scale studies suggests that perinatal peer support can reduce symptoms recorded by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). This is the most commonly used measure of postnatal mental health problems. EPDS requires appropriate training and is only suitable for use in certain settings. Research evidence on the efficacy of perinatal peer support in Scotland is extremely scarce.

This is partly because peer support is a relatively new approach and not yet embedded in statutory services, offering limited opportunity for research studies. In addition, third sector organisations who organise peer support have limited resources for research and evaluation as they direct their resource primarily toward service provision.

5.1 Recommendation:

Evaluation should be built into peer support services to ensure they are meeting needs of clients and peer supporters and providing safe, appropriate and effective services.

Action:

  • Ensure that evaluation of peer support is included within the evaluation of the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Programme Board.
  • Provide support to the funded organisations of the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Third Sector Fund to effectively evaluate their peer support services, where appropriate. Signpost evaluation resources to the wider Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Third Sector portfolio.

5.2 Recommendation:

To build the evidence base of the benefits of peer support for parents and infants, new services should measure their effectiveness using validated measures, to reinforce a commitment to a robust evaluation.

Action:

Work with stakeholders to review validated measures relating to peer support and include these in the Perinatal Peer Support Scotland resource to facilitate effective monitoring and evaluation of peer support activity.


Contact

Email: PIMH@gov.scot