New perinatal depression support an SMS away

19 July, 2017

Parents in Melbourne’s East and North East will soon benefit from an innovative program aimed at helping the 10% of Australian mothers diagnosed with perinatal depression[1] with children under two, and an estimated one in ten Australian fathers diagnosed with postnatal depression[2].

Eastern Melbourne PHN (EMPHN) has provided $400,000 funding to a group of community health care organisations, led by Carrington Health, to provide mental health support for those experiencing or at risk of mild to moderate perinatal depression.

EMPHN CEO, Robin Whyte said that this program will use SMS, and phone and video conferencing to make the service more accessible to busy parents.

“We know that mothers and fathers in our catchment experience perinatal depression, but not enough of them are accessing existing services often due to the demands of parenting,” she said.

“Support will be available by SMS, over the phone, video conferencing as well as the more traditional face to face support.”

“The program aims to help parents manage symptoms of perinatal depression and reduce the prevalence of enduring or more severe perinatal mental health issues in our community; improving outcomes for family health and wellbeing while ensuring our children have the best opportunity for a great start in life.”

Carrington Health CEO, Ronda Jacobs, said this service will directly contribute to supporting parents experiencing perinatal depression.

“By basing the service in community health centres and through more digital means, we are providing accessible services and also removing some of the barriers busy parents face,” she said.

The consortium running the project is led by Carrington Health and includes Link Health and Community, EACH, Access Health and Community, Inspiro and Nexus Primary Health.

For further information about the service, or to make a referral, please phone Carrington Health on 9890 2220.

This service is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the PHN Program as part of EMPHN’s commitment to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of health and medical services for people in the eastern and north-eastern areas of Melbourne.

EMPHN works to improve the wellbeing of its community, particularly for those at risk of poor health outcomes, by improving coordination of care and ensuring patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time. EMPHN works across an area of 3,956 km² comprising a population of more than 1.5 million people.

[1] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [AIHW], 2012

[2] PANDA National Helpline