2017 National Perinatal Mental Health Guideline


COPE: Centre of Perinatal Excellence was commissioned by the Commonwealth Government of Australia to review and update the Australian perinatal mental health guideline previously developed by beyondblue (2011).

An Expert Working Group (EWG) formed to develop the Guideline, has included representatives of the professional bodies in primary, maternity, postnatal and mental healthcare.  The EWG was convened to guide and inform the development of the new Perinatal Guideline: Mental Health Care in the Perinatal Period: Australian Clinical Practice Guideline.

Through the work of the EWG together with specialist expert sub-committees, the Guideline has been drafted, been to public consultation and this consultation feedback is now being reviewed in the finalisation for the Guideline prior to submission to the NHMC.

Details of the Approved Guideline

Guideline Title: Effective Mental Health Care in the Perinatal Period: Australian COPEClinical Practice Guideline.

Guideline Developer: Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE). ABN: 50 203 962 931

Guideline Scope: The scope of the new Guideline now includes the assessment of the high prevalence disorders, and the treatment and management of these together with severe mental illnesses in primary care settings:

Disorders covered in the new Guideline include:

    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Bipolar Disorder
    • Puerperal Psychosis
    • Schizophrenia (new)
    • Borderline Personality Disorder (new)

Approval: The Guideline was approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) under section 14A of the NHMRC Act.

Consultation Period: June 5th – July 4th, 2017: now closed.

Launch date: October 27, 2017

How to access the Guideline and Technical Report

The Guideline and Technical Report will be available in the links below. Due to the extensive length of the technical report, each section can be downloaded individually.

Full Guideline: Click on link below to download. 

National Perinatal Mental Health Guideline


Sections of the technical report: Click on links below to download

Part A: Governance

Part B: Assessment and Screening

Part C: Treatment and Prevention

Part C: Treatment and Prevention (Appendix)

Part D: Harms (treatment safety)

Part D: Harms (Appendix)

Full technical report: Click on link below to download full Technical Report

Perinatal Mental Health Evidence Review_Full Technical Report

Administrative report: Click on link below to download the Administrative Report

COPE Guideline Administrative Report

Note: All documents will be updated following the review and integration of feedback following public consultation.

Companion Documents

COPE has developed a series of companion documents for health professionals, consumers and family members, to reflect the latest evidence as per the national Guideline.

Resources for Consumers:  This is a series of antenatal fact sheets and postnatal fact sheets for consumers covering each of the disorders covered in the Guideline.

There is also the free Ready to COPE Guide to guide women through their pregnancy and the first twelve months in the postnatal period. This free, email Guide highlights the range of challenges women and couples may face and provides helpful preventative strategies.

An overview of the Ready to COPE resource is available here.

Resources for Health Professionals: A series of fact sheets and clinical tools and scoring Guides for the EPDS and ANRQ have also been developed to support health professionals in the delivery of best practice. 

You can also register your details to receive the Guideline and companion documents straight to your inbox as well as any updates and additional resources as they become available.

Online Training Program for Health Professionals

COPE has developed a free, accredited online training program for health professionals to support guideline implementation for health professionals across primary, maternity and postnatal healthcare settings.

An overview of the online training program is available here.

Contact information:

For further information about the development of the Guideline please contact:
Dr Nicole Highet
Executive Director of COPE & Co-Chair, Guideline Expert Working Committee
Email: nicole.highet@cope.org.au
Phone: 0438 810 235