Getting help now

If your wife, partner or girlfriend experiences any perinatal mental health symptoms get medical help as soon as possible and get support from family and friends.

Call the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511. A health professional will answer your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If there is an immediate risk of harm to themselves, the baby or you, call Triple Zero (000) now or go to a hospital emergency department.

On this page

Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Services

NSW Heatlh Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Services (PIMHS) are free for women, babies and families, including LGBTIQ families.

Free advice and services are available:

  • before you get pregnant
  • during pregnancy
  • until the child turns 2 years old
  • if you’ve had perinatal mental health issues in the past
  • have other risk factors.

It is best to get advice and make care plans before becoming pregnant. This will help stop symptoms from emerging during the pregnancy.

How to get this free service

To get this free service, you will need to:

Asking for and accepting help only shows your concern for the health of your baby and your partner.

What they will ask

When you speak to Perinatal Infant Mental Health Services staff, they will ask you and your wife, partner or girlfriend some questions, such as:

  • Is your partner breastfeeding? If so, how often in 24 hours?
  • Is your baby bottle feeding? If so, how much and how many times in 24 hours?
  • What was your partner like before she was pregnant?
  • Did you notice any changes before the pregnancy?
  • Is there a family history of mental health issues? Do you know your partner’s family medical history?
  • Was there any birth trauma: was the birth easy, difficult, or were there any complications?
  • What are your partner’s sleep patterns and appetite?

Treatment

Treatment is likely to include medication. Many medications are safe for mother and baby. You may want to ask the perinatal psychiatrist about the effects of medication on:

  • pregnancy
  • lactation
  • and breastfeeding.

Involuntary treatment

Your partner’s mental health assessment may show that they need involuntary treatment.

An involuntary treatment order allows a person to get treatment even though they didn't agree to it. This happens when a person is:

  • in need of treatment
  • a safety risk to themselves, the baby, their partner or others
  • is unable to decide their own treatment.

There are many legal checks and balances that staff must follow when someone is scheduled under the Mental Health Act and needs involuntary treatment. The NSW Mental Health Act 2007 ensures:

  • the rights of mental health consumers are maintained
  • psychiatric treatment is delivered effectively
  • and voluntary status is reinstated as soon as possible.

For more information about the Mental Health Act refer to Mental health legislation.

Other services and support

24/7 telephone crisis lines

Telephone counselling and helplines

PANDA's National Perinatal Mental Health Helpline - 1300 726 306
For everyone affected by perinatal mental illness.
Monday - Friday, 9am - 7.30pm

Karitane - 1300 227 464 or (02) 9794 2350
A child and family health nurse can answer questions about caring for your baby.
Monday - Thursday, 8am - 9pm
Friday 8am - 4.30pm
Saturday 9am - 3.30pm

Tresillian Parent's Help Line - 1300 272 736
A nurse can answer your questions on how to care for your baby.
Monday - Sunday, 7am - 11pm

Mothersafe - 1800 647 848 or (02) 9382 6539
A telephone service for women concerned about exposure to medication, drugs, radiation and infections during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Perinatal anxiety, depression and mental health websites

Parenting advice and information

Treatment programs and courses

  • Karitane Mental Health Services provides a program that includes a day stay for mums.
  • Mums and Kids Matter is a state-wide service run by Wesley Mission that offers psychosocial support, parenting skills training and practical living skills support to mothers of young children living with a mental health condition.
  • MumMoodBooster is Australia's evidence-based treatment for postnatal depression, with online sessions and an online library.
  • Mum Space is designed to connect your partner quickly with the level of support they need, from advice and support in the transition to parenthood, to effective online treatment programs for perinatal depression and anxiety.
  • MUMentum have developed two, short courses to help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. One course tackles symptoms during pregnancy and one course deals with symptoms during the postnatal period. Both courses are based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which is the recommended, first-line treatment for perinatal anxiety and depression.
  • St John of God (Burwood Mother Baby Unit and Raphael services provides perinatal mental health services for new mums to help them develop a secure bond with their baby, including a mother and baby unit at the hospital.
  • Way Ahead Perinatal Programs has lots of information about where to get help and what programs are available. The Way Ahead Directory lists more than 6,500 services across NSW.

Peer support

Child welfare services

Sometimes parental mental health issues can be so severe that it reduces capacity to safely care for the baby.

A health professional may call the Child Protection Helpline if the baby isn't safe and is at risk of neglect or harm. This may mean child welfare services wanting to talk and meet with you to talk about parenting and how you are coping.

This can be upsetting for everyone but we share a common goal - a well family and a well baby.


Although this resource is aimed at dads, the information is helpful for all new parents and carers regardless of gender, who are coping with perinatal mental illness.

Current as at: Thursday 24 September 2020
Contact page owner: Mental Health Branch