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Improved prevention and support for perinatal depression.

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Minister for Health and Ageing


25 November 2008

Improved prevention and support for perinatal depression

The Rudd Government will provide $5 million to beyondblue to raise community awareness about perinatal depression, and develop information and training materials for health professionals who screen and treat new and expecting mothers for perinatal depression.

This funding will also enable beyondblue to provide advice to the Australian Government and state and territory governments on evidence-based best practice in perinatal depression.

beyondblue will develop national screening guidelines for the early detection of perinatal depression and conduct awareness-raising activities targeting women and their families.

The funding, provided to beyondblue over the next five years, is part of the Australian Government’s $55 million commitment to a national perinatal depression initiative.

As part of this commitment, women experiencing—or at risk of experiencing—perinatal depression will also have access to improved follow-up care and treatment pathways through a $20 million expansion of the Access to Allied Psychological Services program expected to begin early next year.

Under the Access to Allied Psychological Services component of this initiative, Divisions of General Practice will be funded to forge better connections and referral pathways between child and maternal health services and community-based services to ensure women with perinatal depression receive the care they need as soon as possible.

About one in 10 women experience depression during pregnancy and almost one in five experience depression in the year following childbirth.

As well as affecting new and expecting mothers, perinatal depression can also impact on the infant and other family members.

For more information about depression, including where to go for help, contact the beyondblue info line on 1300 22 4636.

For all media inquiries, please contact the Minister's Office on 02 6277 7220.