Queensland Health has made a significant investment of $20 million in perinatal healthcare, aiming to provide enhanced access to community-based mental health treatment and wellbeing support for new parents and infants.
As part of this initiative, 20 new mental health clinicians specialising in perinatal and infant mental health will be recruited across the state.
These clinicians will offer prompt assessment, support, treatment, and consultation services to families throughout the perinatal period.
Shannon Fentiman, Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services, and Minister for Women, emphasised the importance of supporting new parents during this transformative and potentially stressful time.
“We know that having a baby is an incredibly joyous time for new parents, but it can also be very stressful.
“One of the best gifts we can give new parents is support, and providing access to early care for parents and infants during the perinatal period to protect their mental health and wellbeing is invaluable,” Ms Fentiman said
The $20 million investment also includes funding for Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA) to deliver a free Intensive Care Coordination service to Queensland families.
This service will supplement PANDA’s existing free Helpline, ensuring that families have access to ongoing counselling, consultation, and support when facing complex mental health conditions.
CEO of PANDA, Julie Borninkhof, expressed her gratitude for the funding provided by the Queensland Government.
“The funding provided to PANDA by the Queensland Government means we can provide more intensive specialized care for more vulnerable families and those experiencing more complex mental health conditions,” Ms Borninkhof said
Additionally, Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness will receive funding over a five-year period to facilitate peer-led support groups for women and their families dealing with perinatal mental health issues.
Recognising the profound impact of welcoming a new family member, Peach Tree aims to provide not only targeted mental health support but also social connection and a sense of belonging through their Parent Wellbeing Centres.
This investment announcement coincides with Perinatal Mental Health Week, which aims to raise awareness about mental health during the perinatal period.
Research suggests that approximately 15 to 22 percent of women experience anxiety and/or depression during pregnancy or after giving birth.
The $20 million funding is part of the broader Queensland Government’s commitment of over $89 million towards perinatal and infant mental health support under the Better Care Together initiative, which outlines Queensland’s plan for state-funded mental health, alcohol, and other drug services until 2027.