Surjaningrum, E. R., Jorm, A. F., Minas, H., & Kakuma, R. (2018). Personal attributes and competencies required by community health workers for a role in integrated mental health care for perinatal depression: voices of primary health care stakeholders from Surabaya, Indonesia. International journal of mental health systems, 12, 46. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13033-018-0224-0
Background: Non-professional community health workers have been widely reported as possibly having a role in mental health. In Indonesia, their role is currently being introduced in the national health system for perinatal depression. Prior publications have shown that it is generally considered feasible and acceptable by key stakeholders for community health workers to identify and refer women experiencing mental health issues during their perinatal phase to primary care. However, characteristics and competencies required for these workers have not yet been identified.
Methods: 62 participants from four groups of stakeholders in primary health care in Surabaya were interviewed, including program managers, health workers, community health workers (CHWs), mental health specialists, and pregnant and postpartum women. Semi-structured questions were used to explore participants' views about characteristics and competencies required by CHWs to identify and refer perinatal depression.
Results: Literacy and social skills were seen as basic characteristics required for CHWs to contribute to perinatal identification, together with willingness to volunteer and time availability. Participants identified females in the age range 30-50 years who have experienced pregnancy as being preferable. To ensure competency, training addressing knowledge about maternal life and depression, and communication skills are regarded as prerequisites for the role.
Conclusions: The results are consistent with WHO guidelines for informal workers working with people with mental disorders in non-specialised settings. The results provide a rationale for the criteria to be met when informal workers are to be involved in primary care mental health area and provide information for the development of training in the identification of perinatal depression.