National program for depression associated with childbirth: the Australian experience

Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2007 Apr;21(2):193-206. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2006.11.003. Epub 2006 Dec 18.


Routine screening was introduced as a joint research/public-health initiative across 43 health services in Australia, funded by beyondblue, the National Australian Depression Initiative. This program included assessing risk factors and prevalence of depression in perinatal women. Other objectives included increasing awareness of the condition, training of relevant staff, and assessing the feasibility of a screening program. Women were screened antenatally and postnatally with a demographic questionnaire and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. A subgroup of women and health professionals was surveyed. Over 40,000 women participated directly in the program. Data and issues for specific groups are presented. There was a high level of acceptability to women and health professionals involved. Screening is acceptable and feasible as part of the mental-health management of perinatal women. It needs to be supplemented with information for women and education and support for staff.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Depression, Postpartum / ethnology
  • Depression, Postpartum / prevention & control*
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening*
  • Maternal Health Services / organization & administration*
  • National Health Programs / organization & administration
  • Postnatal Care
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care
  • Surveys and Questionnaires