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Australian Government commits $55 million to Perinatal Depression

Posted Jan 27 2009 7:17pm
What is the National Perinatal Depression Plan?

* The National Perinatal Depression Plan 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.
* Responsibility for the National Perinatal Depression Plan rests with the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

Why is this important?

Each year around one in 10 Australian women experience depression during pregnancy and almost one in five experience depression in the weeks and months after giving birth. If left untreated, this can have a negative impact on new mothers, their families and friends.

Who will benefit?

This initiative will benefit all women who are at risk of or experience depression during pregnancy or in the first year following childbirth.

What will the National Perinatal Depression Plan deliver?

The initiative will enable provision of:

* routine screening for depression - once during pregnancy and a follow-up check at around the time the baby is two months old;
* follow-up support and care for women who had been assessed as at risk of or experiencing antenatal or postnatal depression; and
* training for health professionals to help them screen expectant and new mothers and identify those at risk of or experiencing depression.

How will it work?

Each state and territory will roll out universal screening, support services and training for health professionals in a nationally agreed approach. Divisions of General Practice will assist by providing localised support services, and beyondblue will support implementation of the initiative.

What funding is attached to this program?

The Australian Government has committed $55 million over five years – $30 million to the states and territories, $20 million to the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) component of the Better Outcomes in Mental Health Care program, and $5 million to beyondblue, a national organisation working to address issues associated with depression. An additional $30 million will be sought from the states and territories over the five years, bringing the total to $85 million nationally.

When will the National Perinatal Depression Plan start?

The initiative was announced as part of the 2008-09 Federal Budget. The five-year funding will commence in 2008-09.

Further information

For further information on the National Perinatal Depression Plan, please contact

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