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Perinatal Mental Health Services

The perinatal period is the time from pregnancy to the first year after the baby is born. For most mothers this is an exciting and joyful time as well as a time of great change however, research tells us that between 10-16% of women will experience anxiety or depression during their pregnancy and in the months after the baby is born.

Coping with the physical and emotional changes of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting, lack of supports and experiencing difficult times are risk factors for developing anxiety and or depression in the perinatal period.

For women who have already suffered a mental health problem they may fear a relapse will occur during this time.

Treatment of mental health problems is very important. Without treatment, women, babies and families can suffer long term effects. It is important to seek early support to maintain good mental health.

As soon as you know you are pregnant please discuss with your GP (General Practitioner) any past or current mental health concerns so the right supports can commence for you.

Urgent Mental Health Support

For urgent mental health support 24 hours a day you can call the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 or go to your nearest Hospital Emergency Department or call 000. Partners and close family members may be the first to recognise changes to the mental health of a new mother or mother- to- be, and are encouraged seek help early and speak with her GP, Midwife, Obstetrician or Child and Family Health Nurse. For more information and advice see beyondblue

Women’s & Newborn Health Services offer both inpatient and outpatient support for pregnant women and new mothers with physical, emotional and social concerns. The Perinatal Mental Health Service is an important part of our healthcare team and will work with your GP (General Practitioners), Midwives, Obstetricians, Social Workers, Drug and Alcohol Workers, Multicultural Health Maternity Liaison Officers, Aboriginal Maternal & Infant Health and Child and Family Health Nurses to support your mental health wellbeing.
We have three services within Women’s & Newborn Health that provide mental health support in the perinatal period, which are detailed below.

  • Consultation Liaison Psychiatry
  • Perinatal Psychiatry
  • Safe Start


Consultation Liaison Psychiatry

This is an inpatient service that is staffed by Psychiatrists, Psychiatry Registrars (Specialist Hospital Doctor) Clinical Nurse Consultants in Mental Health and a Clinical Psychologist.
Consultation Liaison Psychiatry offer a 24 hour service for women admitted to the hospital or who present to the Emergency Department and need help with a current or past mental health concern.
Please speak to your midwife or doctor if you have mental health concerns and you can request to see Consultation Liaison Psychiatry.

Perinatal Psychiatry

Perinatal Psychiatry is a small specialist service for inpatients and outpatients. Our team provide care for women in pregnancy
and up to 6 - 8 weeks after birth. This maternity service is available for women in the WSLHD (Western Sydney Local Health District).
Perinatal Psychiatry assists you and your healthcare team to plan and manage your mental health needs. This includes:

  • Perinatal mental health assessment and consultation
  • Guidelines for anti-depressant and anti-psychotic medication use in pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Support for women as they move from hospital care to community services.

If you think you need support for a mental health concern talk to your Obstetrician or Midwife and together a plan can be made for ongoing support and referral to services. Our team is available between 9am & 4:30pm, Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.
Talk to your GP, midwife or specialist doctor as early as possible if you have any mental health concerns.

Safe Start

The Safe Start program is a NSW Health program that works with women and their families to recognise and commence early intervention and coordinated support for any physical, emotional and social concerns in the perinatal period.
Safe Start services are available from the time you book in for pregnancy care and can continue after you are discharged home with your baby. The Safe Start program of ongoing coordinated support includes many health services:

  • Midwives
  • Social Workers
  • Perinatal Mental Health Services
  • Transcultural Mental Health Services
  • Drug & Alcohol in Pregnancy Services
  • Child & Family Health Nurses
  • Community Health General Practice Liaison Nurse
  • Aboriginal Maternal & Infant Health Services.


You will be asked a set of questions when you book into the hospital. Your answers help us provide the right maternity care for you. The midwife will discuss with you the Safe Start program. You will only be referred to Safe Start if you agree to the referral. A referral to Safe Start can be made at any time in your pregnancy or after the birth of your baby.

Being on the Safe Start program also means you will receive early Child & Family Health support. To find out more about Safe Start you can read our Safe Start brochure or talk with your midwife or doctor.

WSLHD Community Health Centres


Auburn Community Health Centre
Norval Street Auburn
Phone: 8759 4000


Blacktown Community Health Centre
Blacktown Marcel Street
Phone: 9881 8700


Dundas Community Health Centre
21 Sturt Street, Telopea
Phone: 9638 6511

The Hills

The Hills Community Health Centre
183-187 Excelsior Avenue Castle Hill.
Phone: 8853 4500


Merrylands Community Health Centre
14 Memorial Avenue Merrylands
Phone: 9682 3133


Parramatta Community Health Centre
158 Marsden Street Parramatta
Phone: 9843 3222