Editor's Pick - 2021 journal highlights

Archives of Women's Mental Health publishes the latest research and review articles on current topics in a wide range of specialty areas. Here are some of highlights published in 2021, handpicked by the Editor-in-Chief Anita Riecher-Rössler.

Challenges and opportunities of the COVID-19 pandemic for perinatal mental health care: a mixed-methods study of mental health care staff
C. A. Wilson, C. Dalton-Locke, S. Johnson, A. Simpson, S. Oram & L. M. Howard 

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of perinatal women is of great concern for mental health staff. In this study UK staff perceived perinatal women to be particularly vulnerable to the impact of social isolation, domestic violence and abuse. As a result of changes to mental health services, staff reported feeling less able to assess women, particularly their relationship with their baby, and to mobilise safeguarding procedures. Virtual appointments are perceived not to be appropriate for first assessments, but helpful in subsequent interactions.

Socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in postpartum consultation for mental health concerns among US mothers
Rada K. Dagher, Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable & Regina S. James

Factors that impact access to postpartum mental healthcare were investigated in 1573 US mothers. Significant depressive symptoms were common in women after giving birth, but few sought any form of mental health consultation. Latinas and low-income women were even less likely to seek postpartum mental health consultations. Mental health care interventions might be geared towards targeting these at-risk groups.

The effect of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) on girls/women’s mental health: a case–control study in Kurdistan Region of Iraq
Farman Zahir Abdullah

Female genital mutilation/cutting is a violation of human rights and is associated with a range of health effects and consequences. It is common in Kurdistan region of Iraq. Therefore, this case control study investigated the effect of female genital mutilation/cutting on girls and women’s mental health in Iraqi Kurdistan. A significant percentage of women and girls with a history of genital mutilation/cutting had symptoms of mental disorders. The authors state: “We need to try to reduce and eradicate FGM/C by educating the public about the health consequences of FGM/C and enacting restrictive laws and monitoring proper implementation of them.”