$39 million to boost perinatal mental healthcare

Published Friday, 10 May, 2024 at 09:59 AM

Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

  • The Miles Government will establish 30 new mother baby beds to provide specialist perinatal mental healthcare across the state.
  • The quality of mothers, fathers and partners mental health and wellbeing _during the perinatal period can significantly impact the health of the baby.
  • The perinatal period refers to the time from conception until 24 months postpartum.

There are almost 60,000 births in Queensland each year with approximately one in five mothers needing clinical support for psychological distress or mental illness during the perinatal period.

Currently, there are 12 public perinatal mental health inpatient beds in Queensland and they are located in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

That’s why the Miles Government is investing an initial $39 million to deliver 30 additional mother baby beds in six locations, including Townsville, Cairns and Hinterland, Logan, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich and South Brisbane.

Mother baby beds support the important development of mother baby bond. The beds mean mothers can access wrap around specialist care and support while also being able to care for her baby in a safe environment.

The new beds will be implemented from mid-2024 to late 2026. This initial investment is in addition to the Miles Government’s $89 million funding towards perinatal mental healthcare which forms part of the landmark $1.645 billion Better Care Together plan.

To further support clinicians to continue to deliver quality antenatal and postnatal mental healthcare, the Miles Government has released a Clinical Guideline for Perinatal Mental Health.

This guideline will also support the $10.3 million development of the universal screening tool iCOPE across public maternity and birthing services.

This initiative is jointly funded by the Miles and Albanese Labor Governments and will allow mothers to provide information from the comfort of their homes that assists clinicians to have meaningful conversations with mothers about their mental health and well-being.

These additional beds underscore the Miles Government’s commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of Queensland expectant and new mothers, no matter where they live.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Service Shannon Fentiman:

“We know the mental health and wellbeing of both new and expectant mothers is crucial during the perinatal period.

“As many as one in five mothers experience anxiety and depression during this critical time, and others face even more complex mental health challenges.

“That’s why the Miles Government is investing to improve the mental health and wellbeing of new parents and infants across the state.

“The 30 additional mother baby beds will ensure new mums can access the care and support they need with their new bubs right beside them, where they belong.

“Our new Clinical Guideline for Perinatal Mental Health will support our hardworking health staff to continue delivering their quality mental healthcare.

“We have listened to the needs of Queensland families and I’m so proud that our government is delivering to improve their healthcare across our state.”