Postpartum psychosis has recently been the focus of an in-depth storyline on a British television soap opera watched by millions of viewers.
This research explored how the storyline and concomitant increase in public awareness of postpartum psychosis have been received by women who have recovered from the condition.
Nine semistructured, one-to-one interviews were conducted with women who had experienced postpartum psychosis. Thematic analysis consistent with Braun and Clarke's six-step approach was used to generate themes from the data.
Public exposure provided by the postpartum psychosis portrayal was deemed highly valuable, and its mixed reception encompassed potentially therapeutic benefits in addition to harms.
Public awareness of postpartum psychosis strongly affects women who have experienced postpartum psychosis. This research highlights the complexity of using television drama for public education and may enable mental health organisations to better focus future practices of raising postpartum psychosis awareness.
Declaration of interest
GB is chair of action on Postpartum Psychosis. JH is director of action on Postpartum Psychosis. IJ is a trustee of action on Postpartum Psychosis and was a consultant to the BBC (television company) on the EastEnders storyline. CD is a trustee of action on Postpartum Psychosis, a trustee of BIPOLAR UK, vice chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, and was a consultant to the BBC (television company) on the EastEnders storyline.