Clinical Practice Guidelines

Given the high prevalence of perinatal mental health disorders during pregnancy and the year following the birth of a baby, Australia’s first Clinical Practice Guidelines for the treatment of perinatal mental health disorders were developed by beyondblue. The guidelines were developed between September 2008 – May 2011 when they were endorsed by the National health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Derived from an extensive literature review, Australia’s Perinatal Clinical Practice Guideline’s draw on the latest high quality research evidence to provide Recommendations and Good Practice Points that can be used to identify, treat and manage depression and related disorders- anxiety, puerperal psychosis and bipolar disorder – in the perinatal period.

The Perinatal Clinical Practice Guidelines were compiled by expert advisory groups, drawing upon the best available research evidence. This group included some of Australia’s leading mental health experts, as well as people who have experienced mental health disorders and carers. These Guidelines have received approval from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in 11 February 2011, under S.14A of the NHMRC Act, 1992. In approving these guidelines the NHMRC considers that they meet the NHMRC standard for clinical practice guidelines. This approval is valid for a period of 5 years. The Guidelines cover assessment, treatment and management of depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder during pregnancy and in the year following as well as puerperal psychosis.

Developed to assist health professionals working in primary care and maternity care, the Guidelines have been developed into an extensive range of educational resources for health professionals, consumers and carers. The Guidelines are part of an $85 million National Perinatal Depression Initiative (NPDI), which is funded by state, territory and federal governments.