Framework for the national perinatal depression initiative 2008-09 to 2012-13

Individual investment plans for the national perinatal depression initiative

Page last updated: November 2009

Australian government
Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Northern Territory
Queensland
South Australia
Tasmania
Victoria
Western Australia

Australian government

The Australian Government has committed $55 million over five years to support the implementation of the National Perinatal Depression Initiative. This funding comprises $30 million to State and Territory Governments, $5 million to beyondblue and an additional $20 million to the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) program.

This investment will contribute towards improving the prevention and early detection of antenatal and postnatal depression, and providing better care, support and treatment for expectant and new mothers at risk of or experiencing perinatal depression. In particular, the key elements of the Initiative will be supported through:
  • funding to State and Territory Governments for:
    • routine and universal screening for perinatal depression during pregnancy and again shortly after the birth of the child;
    • appropriate follow-up care and support for women as required; and
    • development and dissemination of training and information about perinatal depression, including treatment and screening, for health professionals;
  • funding to beyondblue for:
    • the development of materials to support professional practice, including guidelines;
    • undertaking community awareness activities;
    • the provision of advice on best practice activities in perinatal depression; and
    • undertaking research activities to enhance knowledge of perinatal depression;
  • funding to Divisions of General Practice under the ATAPS program to build their capacity to provide care to women with perinatal depression by supporting:
    • key links and referral pathways with child and maternal health services during the first year;
    • the promotion of other pathways to care such as the Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners program and/or the use of other Medicare items such as Non-directive Pregnancy Support Counselling; and
    • a stronger focus on access to services in rural and remote areas, and communities with special needs (eg Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities).

Related maternal/child health investment activities

In addition to the funding specifically allocated for perinatal depression, the Australian Government is currently undertaking a number of other activities that involve the care of women during the perinatal period. A review of maternity services throughout Australia has recently been concluded and is the first step in developing a comprehensive plan for maternity services reform. The Australian Government is also contributing to the development of national evidence-based antenatal care guidelines, which will facilitate national consistency of service provision and contribute to improving maternal and infant health outcomes.
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Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government is committed to supporting the implementation of the National Perinatal Depression Framework over five years. Funding of $2,432,488 over the five year period comprises $842,488 from the Australian Government's National Perinatal Depression Initiative and $1,590,000 from the ACT Government. This investment will contribute towards improving the prevention and early detection of antenatal and postnatal depression, and providing additional treatment, care and support for expectant and new mothers at risk of or experiencing perinatal depression.

A focus of the ACT Government's investment plan will be to continue the support by maternity services, maternal and child health services and mental health services to routine screening for perinatal depression for expectant and new mothers. Investment will also support the key areas of workforce training and development, follow-up support and care, and community awareness about perinatal depression. Some of the activities that will form part of the plan include:
  • further development of pathways to care for women experiencing perinatal depression;
  • further development and delivery of training provided to targeted Territory-based health professionals on evidence-based screening and appropriate referral for perinatal depression;
  • increased capacity of specialist mental health services to treat and care for mothers with severe perinatal depression; and
  • provision of local support services to women at risk of or experiencing perinatal depression through NGOs such as PANDSI (Post and Antenatal Depression Support and Information).

Related maternal/child health investment activities

In addition to the activities and funding specifically allocated for perinatal depression, the ACT Government is currently funding a number of other programs that are broadly linked to the care of women during the perinatal period. These include support groups, promoting prevention and early intervention (e.g. Majura and Brindabella Women's Groups, neighbourhood centres, and play groups that are initiated by the maternal and child health nurses) and Child and Family Centres.

New South Wales

The NSW Government has committed $16,882,598 to build on existing perinatal and infant mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention initiatives to support the implementation of the national perinatal depression framework over five years. This funding comprises $8,441,299 from the Australian Government's National Perinatal Depression Initiative and $8,441,299 from the NSW Government.

In addition to screening and assessment, the NSW investment plan focuses on workforce training and development, follow-up support and care and community awareness about perinatal depression. Activities that will form part of the NSW Government's investment plan include:
  • comprehensive psychosocial assessment and depression screening in the antenatal and postnatal periods;
  • assistance to community groups and organisations for women experiencing depression in the antenatal and postnatal periods;
  • setting up local protocols and procedures to develop local service networks to assist with identification and targeted interventions;
  • developing and strengthening integrated care pathways for vulnerable families experiencing perinatal depression;
  • training and development for all maternity and child and health workers in the area of perinatal depression;
  • increased capacity of specialist mental health and drug and alcohol services to appropriately treat and care for new mothers with depression; and
  • improving the quality of mental health data collection and reporting across the continuum of perinatal care.

Related investment activities

In addition to the activities and funding specifically allocated for perinatal depression, the NSW Government funds a number of other services that are broadly linked to the care of women during the perinatal period. These include:
  • the NSW Health 'Supporting Families Early' (SFE) package, which is supported by the NSW Government's 'whole-of-government' prevention and early intervention strategy for all families with children up to eight years of age. Implementation of the SFE policy and guidelines aims to strengthen primary health and continuing care in the community for families expecting or caring for a baby and who are experiencing depression or other mental health problems.
  • the NSW Aboriginal Maternal and Infant Health Strategy (AMIHS), which aims to improve the health of Aboriginal women during pregnancy and decrease perinatal morbidity and mortality. A key component of this initiative is the promotion of social and emotional health.
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Northern Territory

The Northern Territory Government has committed $1,311,948 to support the implementation of the national perinatal depression framework over five years. This funding comprises $1,005,948 from the Australian Government's National Perinatal Depression Initiative and $306,000 from the Northern Territory Government. This investment will contribute towards improving the prevention and early detection of antenatal and postnatal depression, and providing better care, support and treatment for expectant and new mothers experiencing perinatal depression in urban and remote areas.

A focus of the Northern Territory Government's investment plan will be a shift towards integrating a commitment to routine and universal screening for perinatal depression for expectant and new mothers into service delivery. Investment will also support the key areas of workforce training and development, follow-up support and care, and community awareness about perinatal depression. Some of the specific activities that will form part of the plan include:
  • establishment of a project that will support
    • the development of local service networks and pathways to care for women experiencing perinatal depression;
    • training provided to all state-based midwives and maternal and child health nurses regarding screening for perinatal depression;
    • the provision of specialist mental health advice and information to midwives, child health nurses, general practitioners and other service providers treating women with perinatal depression; and
    • increased capacity of specialist mental health services to appropriately treat and care for new mothers with severe perinatal depression;
  • assistance and training to community organisations/support groups/NGOs providing services to women experiencing perinatal depression; and
  • development of an information pamphlet about perinatal depression that will be relevant to Indigenous women.

Related maternal/child health investment activities

In addition to the activities and funding specifically allocated for perinatal depression, the Northern Territory Government is currently undertaking a number of other programs that are broadly linked to the care of women during the perinatal period. Funding is provided to NGOs including Aboriginal organisations to provide family-oriented services and services that support victims of domestic violence. The Northern Territory Government under Bridging the Gap will increase the number of outreach midwives visiting remote areas and is establishing group midwife practices to support and provide continuity of care to women from remote communities who come in to major centres to give birth to their babies.

Queensland

The Queensland Government has committed $11,932,500 specifically to support the implementation of the national perinatal depression framework over five years. This funding comprises $5,932,500 from the Australian Government's National Perinatal Depression Initiative and $6,000,000 from the Queensland Government. This investment will contribute towards improving the prevention and early detection of antenatal and postnatal depression, and providing better care, support and treatment for expectant and new mothers experiencing perinatal depression.

The Queensland Government's investment plan will prioritise four key areas:
  • routine and universal screening for depression in the antenatal and postnatal periods utilising the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. This will occur within the context of routine psychosocial screening of women in both the antenatal period by Maternity Services and in the postnatal period through the implementation of the Universal Postnatal Contact Services initiative;
  • workforce training and development on psychosocial risk assessment, screening and pathways into care consistent with the National Perinatal Depression Initiative, with a particular focus on maternity and child health nurses and mental health professionals in hospitals, community health and primary health care settings;
  • increased capacity of specialist mental health services to provide specialist assessment, support appropriate pathways to care, and treat new mothers with severe perinatal depression, as well as the establishment of local service networks and pathways to care for women experiencing perinatal depression, and funding to non-government organisations to support women experiencing perinatal depression; and
  • raising community awareness of perinatal depression and pathways to care through pre-existing Queensland Government funding to beyondblue.

Related maternal/child health investment activities

In addition to the activities and funding specifically allocated for perinatal depression, the Queensland Government is currently undertaking a number of other programs that are broadly linked to the care of women during the perinatal period. These include:
  • supporting local collaborations in primary health care to enhance service coordination and delivery and reduce avoidable hospital admissions;
  • the Universal Postnatal Contact Service initiative, which will ensure all mothers of newborn babies in Queensland have access to follow-up contact from a health professional after they leave hospital; and
  • as part of the Queensland Plan for Mental Health 2007-2017, establishing a hub of expertise in perinatal and infant mental health to provide co-case management, consultation, liaison, and support to public mental health services and the broader community sector.
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South Australia

Within South Australia a total of $11,941,087 is available to support implementation of the National Perinatal Depression Framework over five years. This funding comprises $2,091,487 from the Australian Government National Perinatal Depression Initiative and $9,849,600 from the South Australian Government. This investment will contribute towards improving the prevention and early detection of antenatal and postnatal depression and providing better care, support and treatment for expectant and new mothers experiencing perinatal depression.

A focus of the South Australian Government's investment plan will be extending the commitment to routine and universal screening for perinatal depression for expectant and new mothers into service delivery. Investment will also support key areas of workforce training and development, further development of pathways of care and support from both clinical and NGO services in the community. It will also support improving community awareness about perinatal depression.

The South Australian Government will invest in workforce development through the employment of specific providers who will:
  • ensure that screening becomes universal and routine;
  • train the workforce by extending the delivery of the current training packages and also increasing community awareness;
  • develop pathways of care in partnership with primary care, secondary and tertiary services; and
  • increase the provision of services by the NGO sector and ensure appropriate pathways of care.

Related maternal/child health investment activities

In addition to the activities and funding specifically allocated for perinatal depression, the South Australian Government is currently undertaking a number of other programs that are broadly linked to the care of women during the perinatal period. These services are dedicated to perinatal and infant mental health and include:
  • Helen Mayo House: 6 bed inpatient unit providing specialist mother and infant inpatient services
  • Helen Mayo Community Team: providing intensive therapeutic community based outpatient services, day programs, specialist mother infant mental health services, community development and capacity building, training and community interface
  • Consultation and Liaison service: comprising psychiatrists and a perinatal mental health nurse focusing on the antenatal and postnatal period and unwell babies
  • Staying Attached Program: NGO program providing individual psychosocial rehabilitation support to women transitioning from inpatient services or living in the community

Tasmania

The Tasmanian Government is committed to the implementation of the National Perinatal Depression Initiative. Mental Health Services will play a lead role in progressing implementation in Tasmania and in doing so will work collaboratively with the Australian Government and other key stakeholders.

The Tasmanian Government has committed $4,281,645 to support the implementation of the National Perinatal Depression Initiative. It acknowledges the financial investment of the Australian Government amounting to $977,949 over a five year period and has committed $3,303,696 over five years. This funding will be committed against each of the elements of the National Perinatal Depression Initiative as follows:
  • The Tasmanian Government will build on current practices in areas such as Child Health and Parenting Services and implement the utilisation of screening using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale screening tool state-wide through its introduction to public and community hospitals, and collaborate with private and community stakeholders.
  • Proposed training over the five years will include systematic training for all staff delivering the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale screening tool and associated psychosocial assessment tools including the use of training packages prepared by beyondblue.
  • Dedicated effort will be committed to defining and raising awareness in relation to appropriate support and care pathways. Some pathways are established in regional areas. The Tasmanian Government will address the care and intervention needs of perinatal women by developing a system of care committed to collaboration and effectively networked to respond to the whole family.
  • Community awareness of perinatal depression will be increased through the development and implementation of promotion and education strategies.

Related maternal/child health investment activities

In addition to the activities and funding specifically allocated for perinatal depression, the Tasmanian Government is currently undertaking a number of other programs that are broadly linked to the care of women during the perinatal period. These services include collection of EPDS data via Child Health and Parenting Services for 99% of Tasmanian mothers, the implementation of Tasmania's Health Plan 2007 which is the blueprint for the integrated development of primary and acute health services and establishment of care pathways including the maintenance of existing regional pathways.

In addition a statewide Clinical Network for Women's and Children's Services is being established which will link clinicians in acute to primary facilities around the state and better facilitate the progression of relevant clinical initiatives such as the National Perinatal Depression Initiative. The Tasmanian Government also funds a mother baby unit in the south of the state which has a focus on supporting mothers with a mental illness including postnatal depression.
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Victoria

The Victorian Government has committed $17,178,017 to support the implementation of the national perinatal depression framework over five years. This funding comprises $7,016,517 from the Australian Government's National Perinatal Depression Initiative and $10,161,500 from the Victorian Government. This investment will contribute towards improving the prevention and early detection of antenatal and postnatal depression, and providing better care, support and treatment for expectant and new mothers experiencing perinatal depression.

A focus of the Victorian Government's investment plan will be introducing routine screening across universal service systems to identify expectant and new mothers at risk of perinatal depression. Investment will also be made in additional workforce training and development, follow-up support and care for identified women, and community awareness about perinatal depression. Some of the specific activities that will form part of the plan include:
  • training to all state-based midwives and maternal and child health nurses in screening and referral for perinatal depression;
  • training to other health services such as community health nurses and Aboriginal health workers in screening and referral for perinatal depression;
  • funding to PaNDa, a statewide association that works with women and their families affected by antenatal and postnatal mood disorders;
  • funding to specialist mental health mother/baby services to deliver primary and secondary consultation on postnatal depression to a number of enhanced maternal and child health services in high growth urban/regional fringe councils;
  • developing protocols for sharing information between health providers for women experiencing antenatal and postnatal depression;
  • working with external stakeholders to identify gaps in services available to women experiencing perinatal depression or where capacity could be increased in existing services; and
  • working with external stakeholders to identify further research that can be undertaken in Victoria to improve the service system response to routine screening and referral.

Related maternal/child health investment activities

In addition to the activities and funding specifically allocated for perinatal depression, the Victorian Government funds a number of other services that are broadly linked to the care of women during the perinatal period. These include maternity services, maternal child health services, community health services, early parenting centres, 20 inpatient mother baby beds and primary mental health and early intervention teams. Specific funded programs that broadly support women in the perinatal period include 'A New Approach to Supporting Women in Pregnancy', psychiatric consultation and liaison services at three hospitals with the highest number of births in Victoria and the Parent/Infant Mental Health Initiative.

Western Australia

The Western Australian Government has committed approximately $7,441,812 to support the implementation of the National Perinatal Depression Framework over five years. This funding comprises of $3,691,812 from the Australian Government's National Perinatal Depression Initiative and $3,750,000 from the Western Australian Government. This investment will contribute towards improving the prevention and early detection of antenatal and postnatal depression, and providing better care, support and treatment for expectant and new mothers experiencing perinatal depression.

The focus of the Western Australian Government's investment plan will be:
  • expansion of the training and resource program which currently includes:
    • for health professionals – awareness raising about perinatal depression and training in the use of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale screening tool, risk assessment and the local referral and care pathways for diagnosis, treatment and support; and
    • for women at risk of or experiencing perinatal depression, their families and the general public – awareness raising about perinatal depression and resources that encourage help-seeking behaviours, information regarding the screening process, and DVDs for Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities regarding perinatal mental health;
  • expansion of the range of community support services for specific high risk populations with perinatal depression including those women and families from Indigenous or CALD backgrounds;
  • assistance to community organisations for women experiencing perinatal depression;
  • provision of local outreach support services to appropriately treat and care for new mothers with severe perinatal depression; and
  • setting up protocols for developing local service network and pathways to care for women experiencing perinatal depression.

Related maternal/child health investment activities

In addition to the activities and funding specifically allocated for perinatal depression, a number of other programs that are broadly linked to the care of women and their children during the perinatal period are being developed. The Western Australian Government's Public Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services is developing state-wide protocols and care pathways regarding infant mental health that focuses on the importance of health and wellbeing of parents, babies and children. In addition, a number of anti-stigma campaigns are being developed within the state to encourage help seeking behaviours.
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