Back to top

Better support for Queensland mothers and babies

20 Aug 2014

The Queensland Mental Health Commission is asking for feedback on mental health services available for mothers and babies in Queensland today as it releases a discussion paper on Perinatal and infant mental health service enhancement.

Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Dr Lesley van Schoubroeck said the report would give interested people a chance to give their thoughts on the proposals made in the discussion paper.

‘‘The proposals in the discussion paper aim to close service gaps and reduce risks which will enable positive and effective responses to the mental health needs of parents and infants,’’ Dr van Schoubroeck said.

“In Queensland there is only one dedicated public hospital bed at the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane for women with post-natal depression and their babies.

“Comparatively, there are eight beds in Western Australia with another eight opening soon, 42 beds in Victoria and six in South Australia, which shows that the level of service provision and availability of clinical inpatient services for Queensland mothers is clearly inadequate.”

Dr van Schoubroeck said suggestions like the ones made in the report provide direction on how Queensland could further support families when they needed it most.

‘‘Queensland is committed to helping women in the community who are managing perinatal mental health,’’ she said.

‘‘I am pleased that the government has re-affirmed the state’s agreement with the Commonwealth by once again signing an agreement to participate in the National Perinatal Depression Initiative.

‘‘This initiative supports the state’s shared goal of enhancing the perinatal and infant mental health system.’’

Debra Spink, a member of the Queensland Mental Health and Drug Advisory Council and co-founder of Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness supports the proposals in the discussion paper.

‘‘We know more work is needed because figures show suicide as the highest indirect cause of maternal death following the birth of an infant and one in six women will suffer from moderate to severe perinatal mental illness,’’ she said.

The commission is seeking further comment on the adequacy of community support and education programs delivered by the non-government sector to support promotion and early intervention initiatives. It is also asking for comment on the extent to which services cater for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Click here for more information, to download the discussion paper and to provide comment.

# # #

For media enquiries please contact:
Emma Sutton
Ph 07 3405 0718