Perinatal depression affects one in 10 women during pregnancy and almost one in seven women in the first year after birth. Perinatal depression also affects at least one in 12 fathers during the perinatal period.
To support parents to adjust to what can be a particularly challenging time in their lives, Eastern Melbourne PHN (EMPHN) has commissioned Carrington Health to provide support and counselling to new and expectant parents who may be dealing with, or at risk of, perinatal depression.
EMPHN CEO, Robin Whyte, said having perinatal anxiety or depression can undermine a person’s confidence but this does not make someone a ‘bad parent’.
“In fact, seeking help early leads to a faster recovery with less impact on the individual, their relationship with their baby, partner and family,” she said.
Carrington Health CEO, Ronda Jacobs, said the service is flexible and tailored to the individual’s needs, which is important given how busy new parents are.
“The service provides a mix of face to face counselling, phone support, access to online programs with regular check-ups and referral and liaison with other services,” she said.
Help is offered to mums and dads free of charge through two different options, SMS4Families or a direct referral.
SMS4Families is a free telephone messaging service which provides information, support and tips addressing parenting and coping with the stress of a new baby. Every three weeks, parents will receive a message asking them how they are coping. Parents who are not coping will be contacted by phone and offered one-on-one or online counselling support.
The program will also accept direct referrals for parents experiencing perinatal depression and provide the most appropriate level of support.
The service is available to mums and dads that are living in the north-east and eastern regions of Melbourne who are at risk of, or experiencing, perinatal depression.
Mums and dads can self-refer directly to Carrington Health. Referrals may also come from GPs, Maternal and Child Health Nurses, other health professionals, families or friends.
To find out more about this service, telephone: (03) 9890 2220 or visit carringtonhealth.org.au/copss. Eastern Melbourne PHN seeks to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for people in the eastern and north-eastern areas of Melbourne, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes, to improve coordination of care and ensure 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. www.emphn.org.au This service is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the PHN Program.
 beyondblue, Perinatal Depression and Anxiety, 2011