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Better together: Supporting perinatal and infant mental health services

Monday, 16 September 2019

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The WA Primary Health Alliance awarded ECU’s Associate Professors Lynn Priddis and Julie Anne Pooley (School of Arts & Humanities), Professor Caroline Barratt-Pugh (School of Education) and Associate Professor Sara Bayes (School of Nursing and Midwifery) $250,000 in 2017 to investigate and map perinatal mental health services in the cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo.

The purpose of the project was to develop recommendations around improving referral to services and referral uptake, including more closely connected working between maternity care, early childhood and perinatal mental health care providers. The project concluded earlier in 2019 and involved working closely with a broad range of additional researchers, service providers, consumers, policy makers and planners. Health economists from the Bankwest Curtin Economic Centre and researchers from Michigan State University in the USA were also involved. This culminated in the report titled ‘Better Together: Supporting perinatal and infant mental health services in the cities of Wanneroo and Joondalup, published this month. The report, which can be found at:  https://bcec.edu.au/publications/better-together-supporting-perinatal-and-infant-mental-health-services/, highlights the many difficulties parents and other primary carers of infants who are vulnerable to mental health compromise have in accessing PIMH services, and that they turn instead to Child Health Nurses, library programs and pharmacies for help and support in relation to emotional wellbeing. Encouragingly, a number of practical opportunities and strategies were identified by the participating care provider agencies, other organisations, and consumers for more ’joined up working’ and accessibility.

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