Research on perinatal depression, anxiety released

Shane Rattenbury, MLA

National research, released at tonight’s Post & Ante Natal Depression Support & Information (PANDSI) Twilight Seminar, will help to improve understandings of women’s experiences of traumatic births, and perinatal depression and anxiety.

Research from the Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE) finds that almost half (49%) of those 767 Australian women surveyed who had experienced perinatal anxiety and depression perceived that their birth was traumatic. The research also finds that 44% of women surveyed believed their birth experience contributed to the development of postnatal depression and/or anxiety.

“For many families, dealing with a traumatic birth, which could include feelings of loss of control right through to a medical emergency for mother or baby or long term negative health implications can lead to significant mental health issues for all involved,” Minister Rattenbury said.

In 2017/18 ACT Health will provide more than $500,000 in funding for PANDSI that provides support to women, men and families who are experiencing postnatal depression and anxiety.

“Tonight’s PANDSI seminar is an opportunity discuss this important subject with health professionals and to learn from the thoughts and feelings of a number of brave women who offered to contribute to a survey about their traumatic birth experiences.

“We are keen to understand the research and to use it to improve community mental health services for such women with postnatal depression and anxiety,” Minister Rattenbury said.

“I equally admire and appreciate the stories these women have generously offered to improve services and programs for others.”

PANDSI CEO Polly McIntyre said already more than 250 families have been helped this year with support and education services for ante and/or postnatal depression or anxiety through their service.