The Morrison Government continues to support the mental health and wellbeing of new and expectant parents with new funding to expand the National Perinatal Mental Health Helpline.
Our Government is providing additional funding of $7.8 million over four years from 2021-22 to 2024-25 to Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA), which operates the Helpline.
The expansion, funded in the 2021-22 Budget, builds on existing funding to PANDA under the Morrison Government’s Perinatal Mental Health and Wellbeing Program.
The National Perinatal Mental Health Helpline is Australia’s only free national helpline service specifically for women, men, and their families affected by or at risk of perinatal mental illness.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the helpline provided a safe and confidential space for any new and expectant parent struggling with the challenges of becoming a new parent.
“The Morrison Government recognises the importance of supporting the mental health of expectant and new parents,” Minister Hunt said.
“Many expectant and new parents do not seek help for perinatal depression and anxiety, because they do not know which emotions are normal, or because of the stigma associated with mental illness.
“PANDA’s services have never been more critical – and this additional funding will ensure the Helpline is there for new and expectant parents to seek the help they need, when they need it.”
The additional funding announced today will enable PANDA to build capacity on the Helpline, which has been in increasing demand during the pandemic, and enable it to continue to provide this vital service.
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said that overall, perinatal depression and anxiety can affect around 100,000 Australian parents every year.
“Many women – and their partners – struggle with their mental health before or after giving birth.
“Statistics in Australia and around the world indicate at least one in five women will likely experience anxiety and/or depression during pregnancy and the postnatal period.
“Men can also experience perinatal mental illness, with about one in 10 expectant and new fathers experiencing depression, anxiety, or other forms of emotional distress in the perinatal period.
The Helpline can be accessed at 1300 726 306 from 9:00am to 7:30pm (AEST/AEDT) from Monday to Friday.
The Morrison Government provided a historic $2.3 billion in the 2020-21 Budget to deliver significant reform of the mental health system and ensure that all Australians have access to high quality, person-centred care as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This brings health expenditure in mental health and suicide prevention services and supports in 2021–22 to a record high of $6.5 billion.