More Australian women will have access to free mental health assessments after pregnancy, from November.
In a bid to stop women in the private health system falling through the gaps, they will now be visited in their home after birth by a midwife, GP or obstetrician, free of charge.
It’s a move welcomed by postnatal depression and anxiety support groups.
Support for all mums
Most pregnant women in the public health system are routinely screened using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, and then once again after birth to assess the state of their mental health.
However, Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia CEO Terri Smith says the same issues aren’t being addressed by private obstetricians.
The Federal Government will later this year introduce free home visits for women in private healthcare, in the first few weeks after birth.
“It’s a really important step forward that it will facilitate obstetricians being able to spend more time to consider their patients’ emotional and mental health, and hopefully what that will mean is that women will have any mental health concerns identified earlier,” Ms Smith told Mum’s Grapevine.
“We know in perinatal depression and anxiety that the sooner you can identify the issue the sooner the mum’s going to get better.”
It comes in response to recommendations made by a taskforce looking into Medicare-funded services.
More information on the announcement can be found at the Department of Health, and for more information on PND, head to: