Mental health promotion and protection relating to key life events and transitions in adulthood: a rapid systematic review of systematic reviews

  • Eleonora P Uphoff (Creator)
  • Victoria Zamperoni (Creator)
  • Jade Yap (Creator)
  • Ruth Simmonds (Creator)
  • Mark A Rodgers (Creator)
  • Sarah Dawson (Creator)
  • Catherine Seymour (Creator)
  • Antonis Kousoulis (Creator)
  • Rachel Churchill (Creator)



During the decades representing working-age adulthood, most people will experience one or several significant life events or transitions. These may present a challenge to mental health. The primary aim of this rapid systematic review of systematic reviews was to summarise available evidence on the effectiveness of interventions to promote and protect mental health relating to four key life events and transitions: pregnancy and early parenthood, bereavement, unemployment, and housing problems. This review was conducted to inform UK national policy on mental health support. We searched key databases for systematic reviews of interventions for working-age adults (19 to 64 years old) who had experienced or were at risk of experiencing one of four key life events. Titles and abstracts were screened by two reviewers in duplicate, as were full-text manuscripts of relevant records. We assessed the quality of included reviews and extracted data on the characteristics of each literature review. We prioritised high quality, recent systematic reviews for more detailed data extraction and synthesis. The search and screening of 3997 titles/abstracts and 239 full-text papers resulted in 134 relevant studies, 68 of which were included in a narrative synthesis. Evidence was strongest and of the highest quality for interventions to support women during pregnancy and after childbirth. For example, we found benefits of physical activity and psychological therapy for outcomes relating to mental health after birth. There was high quality evidence of positive effects of online bereavement interventions and psychological interventions on symptoms of grief, post-traumatic stress, and depression. Evidence was inconclusive and of lower quality for a range of other bereavement interventions, unemployment support interventions, and housing interventions. Whilst evidence based mental health prevention and promotion is available during pregnancy and early parenthood and for bereavement, it is unclear how best to support adults experiencing job loss, unemployment, and housing problems.
Date made available6 Jun 2022
PublisherTaylor & Francis

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