This commentary will provide a general overview of the public health considerations of maternal mental illness, both from a global perspective as well as from the South African context. The paper will outline the consequences of maternal mental illness for mothers as well as their offspring, through the life stages from pregnancy until adulthood. The paper then describes the Perinatal Mental Health Project (PMHP), an intervention that addresses maternal mental health in Cape Town, South Africa. The evidence emerging from this example contributes to the case for integrating maternal mental health into the mainstream health environment.
Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health 2010, 22(2): 73–82