Perinatal Mental Health

importance of perinatal mental health

Pregnancy and the postpartum period can be an exciting and challenging time for parents. While physical changes are evident during this time, the mental and emotional changes are often less discussed. Perinatal mental health refers to the mental health of parents during pregnancy and the first year after childbirth. Mental health concerns during this time can impact the wellbeing of both the parent and child. 

Perinatal mental health is crucial for the wellbeing of both the parent and child. Mental health concerns during pregnancy and postpartum can have long-term effects on the family’s health and wellbeing. Parents with untreated perinatal mental health concerns are more likely to experience difficulties with bonding, breastfeeding, and parenting. They may also experience difficulties in their relationships, work, and social life. Children of parents with untreated perinatal mental health concerns are at a higher risk of developmental and behavioral problems.

services and treatment

Perinatal mental health services are available to individuals who require more specialised support for their mental health concerns. These services are often provided by perinatal psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. Perinatal mental health services may include:

  • Screening for mental health concerns during prenatal and postpartum appointments
  • Diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions
  • Counselling and therapy for individuals and couples
  • Medication management for mental health concerns
  • Referral to other healthcare providers and services as needed

Perinatal mental health treatment may include a combination of medication management and psychotherapy. Psychotherapy may involve individual counselling, couples counselling, or group therapy. Treatment may also include lifestyle changes such as exercise, healthy eating, and stress management techniques.

Perinatal mental health is an essential aspect of a healthy pregnancy and postpartum experience. Mental health concerns during this time can have long-lasting effects on the wellbeing of both the parent and child. 


There are many resources and services available to individuals seeking support for perinatal mental health concerns, including online resources, support groups, and perinatal mental health services. Treatment options may include a combination of medication management and psychotherapy. 

  • PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia) 1300 726 306 
    Offers free support, information, and referral to anyone affected by perinatal anxiety and depression. 
  • Karitane
    Provides early parenting support and services for families with infants and young children. They offer a range of programs including parent education groups, home visiting, and support services.
  • Gidget Foundation Australia
    Provides free psychological support to expectant and new parents experiencing perinatal depression and anxiety. Their services include telehealth, face-to-face counseling, and support groups.
  • COPE (Centre of Perinatal Excellence)
    Provides resources and information for healthcare professionals and families on perinatal mental health.
  • Beyond Blue
    Provides information and support to help individuals and families manage mental health concerns, including perinatal mental health. They offer online resources and a helpline for support.
  • Black Dog Institute
    Offers a range of resources and programs for people experiencing mental health concerns, including perinatal mental health. They also offer a free online self-help program called “MyCompass” which includes resources for perinatal mental health.
  • Lifeline 13 11 14 or SMS 0477 131 114

    Lifeline is a national non-profit organization that provides 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services to anyone in Australia experiencing emotional distress, mental health concerns, or contemplating suicide.

It’s important to note that this is not an exhaustive list, and there may be additional resources available in specific regions or communities. It’s important to reach out for support and seek help if needed. 

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