The Member for Ballarat, Catherine King, has welcomed plans to provide additional support to new parents across Australia.
Ms King said a Labor Government will establish a universal perinatal depression screening program for every expectant woman and new mother across Australia.
“Labor believes every child should have the best start at life and new parents should be supported through what can be a very challenging time of transition in their lives,” Ms King said.
“Perinatal depression is a quiet, under-reported epidemic in Australia and is a significant cause of maternal death and disability,” she said.
“There is mounting evidence that up to one in ten women experience depression in pregnancy and that this increases to one in seven in the postnatal period. Rates of anxiety are likely to be even higher,” Ms King said.
“It’s a problem not just experienced by women. Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) suggest up to one in 20 men experience postnatal depression,” she said.
Labor’s National Plan will:
- Ensure that all pregnant women are screened to identify their risk of perinatal depression and the presence of possible symptoms, in a cost efficient and sustainable way.
- Empower women and families with tailored information to guide and support them.
- Facilitate best practice early intervention, treatment and support.
- Integrate screening results into the My Health Record to ensure seamless referrals to health practitioners.
- Encourage private practitioners to adopt screening as a key element of a woman’s perinatal care.