Mental health needs among pregnant and parenting adolescent girls and young women in South Africa: A scoping review

Linneth N. Mabila, Livhuwani Muthelo, Masenyani O. Mbombi, Peter M. Mphekgwana, Reneilwe G. Mashaba, Cairo B. Ntimana, Kagiso P. Seakamela, Joseph Tlouyamma, Inos Dhau, Rathani Nemuramba, Katlego Mothapo, Eric Maimela

Abstract

Teenage pregnancy and parenting pose a greater risk of developing mental health problems among pregnant and parenting adolescent girls and young women. We report on a scoping review of peer-reviewed articles to identify mental health needs and challenges among pregnant and parenting adolescent girls and young women. We adopted only five steps of the Arksey and O'Malley framework to facilitate the scoping review of 125 articles published between July 2002 and August 2022 from these databases (MEDLINE, SABINET, EBSCOhost, Science Direct) using search syntax. Major themes emerged from the thematic content analysis; challenges experienced by pregnant and parenting adolescent girls and young women and the recommended interventions, factors associated with mental health in pregnant women and parenting adolescent girls and young women, and the implications of mental health problems. Mental health challenges, among others, include depression, stress and anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorders, and suicidal thoughts. Limited mental health interventions are provided to the group, including social support, parental coaching and counselling, and guidance, which translates to an imbalance between targeted mental health interventions and mental health challenges. We recommend involvement and education of the community on social support, development of digital health programs and integration of mental health services amongst schools, clinics, and community development to support pregnant and parenting adolescent girls and young women. (Afr J Reprod Health 2023; 27 [2]: 101-129).

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