Background: An integrative review was undertaken to synthesise the research related to professionals’ perceptions and experiences of working in collaborative and integrated models of perinatal care for women with mental health problems.
Method: A search of the databases CINAHL, Medline, PubMed, Psychinfo and Scopus was conducted. Studies were limited to English language papers published from 2000 to 2010. Fourteen papers were included in the review.
Results: The overarching theme identified in the review related to the process of ‘making it happen’. Eight key elements were identified as central components of this process: funding and resources for collaboration; shared vision, aims and goals; pathways and guidelines; continuity of care; building relationships and trust; role clarity; training and education of staff and support to work in new ways.
Conclusion: Perinatal mental health is an emerging field that is particularly challenging as it requires professionals to work across disciplines and timeframes, where there is a risk of dichotomising care, compounding existing barriers to service uptake. Professionals need resources and to feel supported to change clinical practice and work in more collaborative ways. The voices of women and families are missing in the literature.