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Pregnant women will soon have access to free mental health assessments during and after pregnancy.

The decision is in response to recommendations made by a taskforce examining thousands of Medicare-funded services.

Australian Medical Association (AMA) president Michael Gannon said early intervention was key to treating postnatal depression.

“Healthy mothers who are functioning well are more likely to take good care of their babies,” he said.

From November, pregnant women will receive free mental health assessments during their pregnancy and within two months of giving birth, reports ABC.

That was one of dozens of recommendations made by a taskforce set up to examine the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

Dr Gannon said it was a welcome investment that ensured obstetricians performed screening tests for postnatal depression during the antenatal period.

“To identify women who might already be depressed, but at the very least identify that group of women who are at increased risk of postnatal depression, and invest wherever possible in preventing it happening,” he said.

For support please call:

Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) — 1300 726 306
Lifeline — 131 114

Is this finally the answer to fight PND?

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  • this will be helpful to a lot of people and hopefully they will get the support that they need. i’m glad that these issues are being taken seriously now

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  • This is definitely a step in the right direction.

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  • Good idea. I had these assessments too. But I still had PND for 2 years after the birth of my second child and it went undiagnosed and noticed for so long. Partly because I was worried about judgment and losing my kids. It doesn’t help when they say, even in this article that women who are mentally well look after babies better. So unnecessary.

    Reply

  • I think mental health assessments should continue until your kids are school aged. I am hanging by a thread until my son goes to kinder next year because I am so burnt out. The last year has been so hard. Mums need support the whole way through.

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  • Great support.

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  • Such an important step in helping support new mums.

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  • You can hope this helps everyone but as long as it help more than now it’s a good thing.

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  • Good idea :)

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  • Great step forward ! To be honest, I think it should be free accesable for everyone, always !

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  • In severe cases this can be assessed and treated at a public hosptial at has a maternity section. I know of a case.

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  • Well done – this is a wonderful step in the right direction for women and health and well being.

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  • What a fantastic initiative and service. Something that is long overdue. Hopefully we can put a dent in PND and give mums (and dads) the support they need.


    • We need to look after mums and dads and families.

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  • Great initiative and well overdue

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  • This looks amazing. I’m sure a lot of pregnant women will benefit from this!

    Reply

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