Women from lower socio-economic backgrounds are nearly three times more likely to develop antenatal and postpartum depression than those who are better-off, a UK-wide study has found.

The study of some 100,000 women, published in this month's British Journal of General Practice (BJGP), also identifies a link between being poor and developing anxiety and severe mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

BJGP editor, Professor Roger Jones, said: "Maternal perinatal mental illness has been highlighted as one of the most important issues in women's health worldwide and there is considerable burden across the severity spectrum of maternal mental illnesses in UK general practice for women of all ages.

"This research highlights that greater recognition that women in the most socioeconomically-deprived groups are at high risk is required at policy level and should emphasise the need for trials of methods to effectively identify women and interventions to prevent and treat perinatal mental illness in high risk women in the primary care setting."

For more information visit www.rcgp.org.uk/bjgp

Posted 08/10/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com