New research launched by Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler reveals 1800 Australian parents are diagnosed every week with post and antenatal depression at a cost to the economy of $433 million.
In the week before Postnatal Depression Awareness Week, Mr Butler congratulated the Post and Antenatal Depression Association (PANDA) on the new report, saying the entire community stood to benefit from efforts to raise awareness and provide early intervention to new parents.
“Being a new mum or dad can be the most rewarding experience of one’s life, but it can also be an enormously challenging time for many parents,” Mr Butler said.
“We’ve known for some time the emotional and human toll of post and antenatal depression but this is the first time anyone has tried to quantify that cost in terms of lost productivity from days absent from work and the cost to the health system.”
Mr Butler also noted that the new study observed both mums and dads were susceptible.
“This is a condition which we tend to associate with women but it actually affects one in twenty men as well so we need to raise awareness and break down the stigma so that all parents feel comfortable speaking up and seeking support.”
The Federal Labor Government, in partnership with the states and territories, introduced the first ever National Perinatal Depression Initiative in 2010 with $85 million to improve screening, support and treatment services.
“That initiative has seen us take big strides in terms of community awareness, introducing universal screening and providing better support services including by the expansion of the Access to Allied Psychological Services program,” Mr Butler said.
“With these investments the Government is seeking to improve prevention and early detection of antenatal and postnatal depression, as well as providing better support and treatment for parents and expectant parents experiencing depression.”
“The Government’s record $2.2 billion mental health reform plan also provides increased supports for people with mental health issues including those dealing with postnatal depression such as the $206 million boost to allied psychological services.”
(Source: Department of Health and Ageing)