Our work in perinatal mental health

beyondblue ​promotes awareness and provides information to new and expecting parents, and their families, about perinatal mental health through the beyond babyblues program. Our work in this area also provides training and information to health professionals so they can assess and assist new and expecting parents in the perinatal period, which is the time from conception until one year postnatal.

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

Our dedicated website for perinatal mental health, Just Speak Up, features personal stories of real people (not actors) talking candidly about their experiences of pre- and postnatal depression and anxiety, and how they got help. People can also upload their own stories on the website, which aims to encourage mums, dads and other family members to “just speak up” and get the help they need.

Find out more about our work


The National Perinatal Depression Initiative

beyondblue 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.

beyondblue 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.

beyondblue continues to provide national leadership of the NPDI through the delivery of the beyond babyblues program. The core activities funded by the Commonwealth Government for the period from 2013 to 2017 include:

  • 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

beyondblue 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 beyondblue, 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, beyondblue has developed Australia’s first Guidelines for the treatment of perinatal mental health conditions.

Perinatal Systematic Literature Review

A Systematic Literature Review was conducted to inform the development of the Perinatal Clinical Practice Guidelines.

National Action Plan 2007

Informed by the beyondblue Postnatal Depression Research Program between 2001-2005 beyondblue 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, beyondblue 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 beyondblue 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 beyondblue-funded research

Perinatal mental health training

In response to the recognised need for free, accessible training for all primary/maternity health care professionals, beyondblue offers free training resources and programs.


beyondblue offers a free catalogue of resources on perinatal mental health for people, partners, family and friends, and for health professionals who work in mental health.

Health professional resources: 

Perinatal Clinical Practice Guidelines 

Given the high prevalence of perinatal mental health conditions during pregnancy and the year following the birth of a baby, beyondblue developed Australia’s first Guidelines for the treatment of perinatal mental health conditions.

The Guidelines, endorsed in 2011, assist health professionals working in primary care and maternity care. The Guidelines have also informed the development of an extensive range of companion resources for health professionals, women and their families.

We have also developed several companion resources for primary care and other health professionals to further assist them with screening, assessing and managing women’s mental health in the perinatal period.

Perinatal Systematic Literature Review

A Perinatal Systematic Literature Review was conducted to inform the development of the Perinatal Clinical Practice Guidelines.

Download the relevant Systematic Literature Review sections below:

More information on perinatal mental health
beyondblue works to increase people's knowledge and skills to maintain their own good 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