National Perinatal Depression Initiative

The National Perinatal Depression Initiative aims to improve prevention and early detection of antenatal and postnatal depression and provide better support and treatment for expectant and new mothers experiencing depression. This initiative benefits women who are at risk of or experiencing depression during pregnancy or in the first year following childbirth.

Page last updated: 18 April 2013

At the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (AHMAC) meeting on 6 March 2008, state and territory governments together with the Australian Government agreed to collaborate on the development of a National Perinatal Depression Initiative. $85 million was jointly allocated to the initiative over 5 years to June 2013.

Australian Government funding under this initiative is being distributed to:

  • state and territory governments to contribute to the roll out of routine and universal screening, support and treatment services, and training for health professionals. State and territory governments also provide funding for this.
  • the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) component of the Better Outcomes in Mental Health Care Program to build the capacity of divisions of general practice to better support women with perinatal depression and
  • beyondblue to support implementation, including raising community awareness about perinatal depression, and developing information and training materials for health professionals who screen and treat new and expectant mothers for perinatal depression.
The National Perinatal Depression Initiative enables the provision of:
  • routine and universal screening for depression for women during the perinatal period (once during pregnancy and again about four to six weeks after the birth) by a range of health care professionals including midwives, child and maternal health nurses, general practitioners and Aboriginal health workers – using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale
  • follow-up treatment, support and care for women who are at risk of or experiencing perinatal depression. This includes focused psychological treatment, counselling services, fostering better networks of support groups for new mothers, acute inpatient care and community-based care and support
  • training and development for health professionals to help them screen expectant and new mothers to identify those at risk of or experiencing perinatal depression, make appropriate referrals and provide treatment, care and support and
  • research and data collection including research into prevention activities and surveys of women’s preferences to ensure services meet their needs.

Page last reviewed: 14 March 2013