Our programs

Our programs at COPE involve a range of innovative and exciting developments in perinatal mental health. Our programs include:

Review of Australia’s National Perinatal Mental Health Guideline

The Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE) is the Guideline developer for the National Perinatal Mental Health Guideline.

The Guideline development has been informed and developed through the work of the Expert Working Group, formed through nomination of representatives from each of the professional bodies representing primary, maternity, postnatal and mental health care (as reflected in COPE’s Membership). The 2017 Guideline was approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Following extensive consultation with consumers, carers, professionals and governments, the National Guideline was approved by the NHMRC on 17 October, 2017.  The National Perinatal Mental Health Guideline was officially launched by the then Federal Minister for Health, The Hon Greg Hunt on 27 October, 2017.


iCOPE: Transforming screening practice in Australia

COPE has developed a new digital platform – iCOPE. iCOPE stands to revolutionise current screening practice in Australia through deploying the latest digital technology to make screening more efficient and effective.  Importantly, valuable outcome data is also collected to inform service provision, policy and practice.  The technology is also designed to guide practitioners in the detection and management of perinatal mental health conditions whilst, for the first time, providing consumers with tailored information in relation to their personal screening outcomes.


Perinatal Mental Health Check

The Hospital to Home and Wellbeing program is designed to support public hospitals in the provision of routine screening for perinatal mental health issues, in line with best practice.

In May 2019, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, the then Prime Minister of Australia, announced the time-limited investment of $36 million over three years to establish the program. Of this investment, $16 million will be provided to the Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE) to roll-out iCOPE, our digital mental health screening tool. 

The Program is designed to support public hospitals in the provision of routine screening in line with best practice. Following extensive and successful trials of the iCOPE Platform across multiple healthcare settings, this is the chosen Platform that will be implemented under the Program.

National community awareness campaign

COPE has been funded by the Commonwealth Government to develop a perinatal mental health awareness campaign which will be launched in early 2022. 

Informed by research undertaken with consumers, health professionals and perinatal service providers, the campaign will raise awareness of the emotional and mental challenges faced by hopeful, expectant and new parents, in order to raise awareness of distress, reduce stigma and promote help-seeking.


Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander perinatal mental health mapping project

Funded by the Commonwealth Government, this detailed scoping study sought to determine the degree to which core components of Australia’s National Perinatal Depression Initiative (NPDI) are currently integrated across the 85 Aboriginal community controlled health organisations and primary health care settings that are funded by the Commonwealth Government to provide New Directions Mothers and Babies Services.

Using extensive qualitative and quantitative methods, the project has obtained important insights into current awareness, attitudes and practices amongst health practitioners across these New Directions settings.  In particular, current practices surrounding screening, treatment and referral pathways has identified current opportunities and barriers to best practice in perinatal healthcare across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations nationally.

Download Report

Aboriginal Mapping Project Report

Having a Baby – Understanding your emotional journey

Following extensive qualitative research revealed a range of issues for women who are experiencing depression and/or anxiety during pregnancy, this large scale study seeks to quantify the extent to which these findings are relevant to the broader population.

Through undertaking an anonymous and confidential online survey with over 1,000 women to date, the findings have revealed detailed insights into women’s experience of symptoms, stigma, help-seeking behaviour and experiences with treatment services. This information has been used to underpin the information that COPE provides to women, families and health professionals, informs our strategic directions and enables us to undertake important research and identify areas of need for advocacy surrounding perinatal care.


Valuing perinatal mental health

In order to estimate the costs incurred by perinatal depression and anxiety associated with births in 2013, COPE, in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), have undertaken an economic analysis of costs incurred for not treating perinatal depression and anxiety.  These findings reveal the potential scale and scope of perinatal depression and anxiety in Australia for one year.