Our work in perinatal mental health

Beyond Blue promotes awareness and provides information to new and expecting parents, and their families, about perinatal mental health.

Beyond Blue works closely with governments, service providers and the community to increase awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding perinatal mental health conditions. 

Our Just Speak Up web page provides information on perinatal mental health with personal stories of real people (not actors) talking candidly about their experiences of pre- and postnatal depression and anxiety, and how they got support.

Find out more about our work


The National Perinatal Depression Initiative

Beyond Blue has provided effective leadership of the National Perinatal Depression Initiative (NPDI) over the past decade, raising the awareness and assisting health professionals to screen for perinatal mental health conditions.

The National Perinatal Depression Initiative (NPDI) began in 2008, when State and Territory Governments, together with the Federal Government, agreed to collaborate on the development of a national initiative to improve the early detection of antenatal and postnatal depression and to provide better care, support and treatment for expectant and new mothers experiencing perinatal depression.

Beyond Blue has worked collaboratively with key stakeholders, experts, health professionals, government, and people with depression and anxiety, and their families, in the development of evidence-based Perinatal Clinical Practice Guidelines, research into perinatal mental health and a suite of information resources for new and expecting parents about how to support their emotional and mental health during the perinatal period.

The core activities funded by the Commonwealth Government for the period from 2013 to 2017 included:

  • Routine and universal screening for depression using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.
  • Follow-up treatment, support and care for women who are at risk of, or are experiencing perinatal depression.
  • Training for health professionals to help them screen expectant and new mothers to identify those at risk of perinatal depression, and to make appropriate referrals and provide treatment, care and support).
  • Research and data collection.

The evidence informing our work

Beyond Blue has contributed to pioneering developments in perinatal mental health and regularly conducts research and evaluations to ensure our programs are supported by the latest evidence.

Past perinatal mental health research funded by Beyond Blue, as detailed below, spans more than a decade and has informed the development and design of our work in this area.

Perinatal Clinical Practice Guidelines

Given the high prevalence of perinatal mental health conditions during pregnancy and the year following the birth of a baby, in 2011 Beyond Blue developed Australia’s first Guidelines for the treatment of perinatal mental health conditions. These Guidelines have recently been reviewed and updated by the Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE).

National Action Plan 2007

Informed by the Beyond Blue Postnatal Depression Research Program between 2001-2005 Beyond Blue joined with leading experts and organisations in perinatal mental health to develop a National Action Plan.

The plan aimed to create a framework for the national implementation of screening and management of perinatal mental health conditions, with a focus on depression.

Perinatal Monitor 2009

In late 2009, Beyond Blue conducted a national survey to investigate how the Australian community perceives perinatal depression and anxiety.

The results from this survey provided important insights and information that informed campaign messages across sections of the community and health professionals. The survey also produced important baseline data against which progress of the initiative will be monitored over time.

National PND Research program 

The Beyond Blue National Postnatal Depression Research Program was established in response to the lack of national focus and attention on improving women's mental health before they give birth. The program was funded for a four year period, 2001-2005, and aimed to determine the value of antenatal screening, information packages and psychological and social intervention, and whether postnatal depression could be prevented.

Between 2001-2005 the program was conducted across most Australian states and territories, it provided information and resources to more than 200,000 women and consisted of a screening program targeting over 40,000 women. A range of prevention and treatment interventions were also trialled.

Other Beyond Blue-funded research


Beyond Blue offers the following free perinatal mental health resources for new parents, partners and other carers.

These resources help new and expectant mums, dads, partners and family members to identify if a new parent isn’t coping. They also explain some of the common emotional challenges faced by new and expectant parents, and offer practical advice on how to deal with them. Informed by Mental Health Care in the Perinatal Period: Australian Clinical Practice Guideline (Austin, Highet and Expert Working Group, 2017), they also include detailed information about mental health conditions. They aim to assist women, men, partners and families to seek support and find the right treatment.

More information on perinatal mental health
Beyond Blue works to increase people's knowledge and skills to maintain their own mental health and wellbeing, and recognise symptoms in people close to them, in order to prevent the development of a mental health condition.

Read more information, advice and personal stories about perinatal mental health and options for more support.

Find out more

Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.

Sign me up