Understanding the lived experiences of severe postnatal psychiatric illnesses in English speaking South Asian women, living in the UK: a qualitative study protocol

Harpreet Kaur Sihre, Paramjit Gill, Antje Lindenmeyer, Mary McGuiness, Giles Berrisford, Jelena Jankovic, Minaxi Patel, Jona Lewin, Qulsom Fazil

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INTRODUCTION: The South Asian population is the UK's largest and fastest growing minority ethnic group. There is evidence to suggest the lay understanding of postnatal psychiatric illnesses of this group may fall outside the purview of Western biomedical perspectives. Alternative explanations include psychosocial, cultural and spiritual factors. Approaching psychiatric illnesses through a social perspective includes gaining insight to the patient's subjective experiences and understandings via qualitative inquiry. The objectives of this qualitative study are to explore South Asian women's narrative of living with a severe postnatal psychiatric illness and experiences of Perinatal Mental Health Services, care and support.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Data collection is ongoing and will continue until 31 December 2018. Participants will be identified and recruited from Perinatal Mental Health Services in Birmingham and London. Eligible participants will be English speaking South Asian females aged 18 years or above with the capacity to give written informed consent. Participants are clinically diagnosed with a severe postnatal psychiatric illness. This qualitative study uses individual in-depth face-to-face interviews that aim to last 1 hour. Interviews will be audio recorded with participants' permission. Interview audio recordings will be transcribed verbatim and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). The primary goal of IPA is for the researcher to closely study and interpret how individuals make sense of their life experiences in a particular context by drawing on the fundamental principles of phenomenology, hermeneutics and idiography.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The University of Birmingham, the South Birmingham Research Ethics Committee and the Health Research Authority have approved this study (approvals date: 18-12-2017 ref: 17/WM/0350). Local capability and capacity have been confirmed from Trust Research and Development departments. The researchers plan to publish the results from this study in journals and present findings at academic conferences.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere025928
JournalBMJ open
Issue number8
Early online date1 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


  • South Asian
  • interpretative phenomenological analysis
  • lived experience
  • protocol
  • qualitative
  • severe postnatal psychiatric illness


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