Applied Skills in Perinatal Mental Health Assessment and Care

(Subscription) Applied Skills in Perinatal Mental Health Assessment and Care

$400.00 / month for 3 months

Applied Skills in Perinatal Mental Health Assessment and Care


A practical course designed for trained mental health professionals, to build perinatal mental health specialist skills and expertise.

  • 25+ hours of online learning
  • Presentation notes summarising course content and for future reference
  • Lesson notes and resources throughout
  • Clinical workbooks to apply learning to real-life case studies and supply of a clinical Practice Guide on completion
  • Templates and resources (eg. assessment templates, care plans) to use in practice during and following the course
  • Built-in assessment at the end of each lesson to consolidate your learning and track your progress
  • Digital certificate on completion
  • Developed and accredited by COPE: Centre of Perinatal Excellence
  • All content is underpinned by Best Practice Clinical Practice Guidelines.

$1,200 AUD (plus GST)

Note: Purchase of this course entitles course access and certification for one person only.

Upfront payment ($1,200 +GST) or payment plans available (3x $400 + GST) payment at checkout.

Group discounts apply: Five or more registrations (20%), ten or more registrations (25%).

For group bookings an invoice can be issued and course codes provided at checkout to avoid the need for individual payments. To arrange this, please contact

Course overview

Perinatal mental health is a specialised field.  Unlike any other life stage, the perinatal period brings unique contextual factors which must be considered and incorporated into the assessment, management and treatment of perinatal mental health conditions.

This course is based on empirical research underpinned by approved and acclaimed clinical practice guidelines.  Through the presentation of information and consumer insights, this course will equip you with models for undertaking a comprehensive perinatal mental health assessment, approaches to effective treatment and management.

This course provides the opportunity to apply your knowledge through the application of tools and strategies to real-life case studies as you progress through the course modules.  

Who is this course for?

This course has been designed for trained mental health professionals wishing to gain specialist expertise in perinatal mental health. The course is also highly relevant and applicable to other health professionals working within the perinatal field, and supporting the perinatal mental health and wellbeing of clients and their families. The course provides all learners with a valuable framework to guide and enhance their skills in perinatal mental health assessment, treatment and planning. 

Successful completion of the course will demonstrate perinatal mental health expertise within your discipline, however it does not qualify you for registration as a mental health professional.  

Supporting materials

The course includes lesson handouts which you can download and take notes as needed. 

Each Module contains the course clinical workbook with built-in templates to guide you in the processes of assessment, management and treatment. This is available to download and use as you apply what you have learnt to the real-life case studies featured throughout the course. On completion you will also receive a consolidated course manual for future reference and practice. 

All of these assets will continue to provide you with valuable resources for use in your clinical practice throughout the course and thereafter.

Course learning outcomes

This course is designed to assist you to feel competent in your understanding of perinatal mental health as a speciality area. 

Upon successful completion of this Intermediate Skills training course you will:

  1. Know the particular nuances of perinatal assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mild-moderate perinatal depression and anxiety disorders.
  2. Be able to conduct an in-depth assessment using perinatal specific formulation skills.
  3. Use your newly-acquired perinatal specific formulation skills to guide the management of mental health disorders in this specialised area.
  4. Understand the unique nuances for specific populations groups and consider the implications for assessment, treatment and care planning.
  5. Apply your perinatal specific formulation skills to the provision of evidence-informed speciality care and therapeutic interventions for the mother, infant, fathers and partners.
  6. Develop a comprehensive knowledge of the pathways to care and be able to identify when to refer on to more specialist treatment.
  7. Hear from perinatal experts to gain knowledge, skills and insights about practicing as a specialist in this complex field.
  8. Learn where and how to access further perinatal specific training and skill development and how to connect with appropriate supervision and perinatal specific professional networks. 
  9. Increase your confidence to apply learnings through the application of knowledge and theory to real-life studies.

Overall, you will have moved away from a general mental health approach to one of specialised perinatal mental health practice that is line with the National Guidelines. 

Course timeline

Complete at your own pace within 12 weeks.


Upon successful completion of the course, you will receive a certificate as proof of completion which can be presented for accreditation purposes. This can be provided to your registration body and enables automatic qualification to be featured on the eCOPE Directory.  

About the presenter

Dr Nicole Highet is the Founder and Executive Director of COPE: Centre of Perinatal Excellence, Australia’s peak body in perinatal mental health.  Nicole is a Doctor of Psychology, and the Chair of the 2023 Clinical Practice Guideline Expert Working Committee, and co-chaired the development of Australia’s Clinical Practice Guidelines in 2011 and 2017.

Nicole has specialised in perinatal mental health for over 25 years.  During this time Nicole has overseen the implementation of national screening programs, guideline and resource development together with extensive training and development for health professionals and community leaders.  Drawing on her research with consumers and family members, Nicole has also been responsible for the development and execution of national education and awareness campaigns including the most recent campaign – The Truth.

Nicole has also lead the development and innovative approaches to support consumer awareness and education through the development of the Ready to COPE Guide to pregnancy and early parenthood (App), and the development of the iCOPE Digital Screening program, currently being rolled out across all Australian maternity hospitals and maternal and child health settings nationally in multiple languages.  

Nicole draws upon her experience, her extensive research with consumers and health professionals (featured throughout this course ) to bring this course to life and equip mental health professionals with specialist expertise in perinatal mental health.  


Purchasing this course entitles access of content and certification by one person only. Sharing of content is in breach of the terms of sale.

All information contained in the course is copyright.

To enquire about student fees, discounts for group bookings or arrange for an invoice to be prepared, contact us at


COPE has consulted with consumers, carers and health professionals in the development of this content.

All content is underpinned by National Clinical Practice Guidelines, approved by the Australian Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Expertise has also been provided through collaboration with experts in the field.


Course Overview

Welcome to the COPE Applied Skills in Perinatal mental Health Program. Below is a brief overview of this course. <strong>This course is made up of three core modules:</strong> <ol> <li>Accurate Assessment of mild-moderate perinatal depression and anxiety​</li> <li>Treatment of mild-moderate perinatal depression and anxiety​</li> <li>Referral pathways and management plans, and practitioner development</li> </ol> <h3>Lesson Resources</h3> This course is filled with valuable tools to support your learning when completing the course and following in your day to day practice. <strong>Lesson Notebooks:</strong> In each lesson you will find a Lesson notebook in which you can follow along wth the video presentation and take notes.  You can download the Lesson Notebook and type in noted via the Adobe Program, or alternatively you may wish to print and write notes in. In addition to the Notebook, inks and resources are provided that relate to the content of each lesson. <h3>Lesson Quizzes</h3> <!-- /wp:paragraph --><!-- wp:paragraph --> At the end of the lesson you will find the lesson quiz. This must be completed for each lesson and achieve an 80% pass rate in order to progress to the next lesson and receive your certificate of completion at the end of the course. <!-- /wp:paragraph --><!-- wp:paragraph --> NOTE:  Once you have completed each lesson, simply click the '<em>Complete and Continue</em>' link in the top right hand corner of each lesson to record your progress and take you to the next lesson. <h3>Disclaimer</h3> This course is based on the best available evidence at the time of its content preparation. This course is intended to provide general education to practitioners. It should not be relied on as a substitute for case-specific assessment and treatment, and practitioners are responsible for staying up to date on research evidence and best practice within their specialty.


Module 1: Background and Accurate Assessment

The first Module, A<em>ccurate assessment of mild-moderate perinatal depression and anxiety</em>, is made up of six lessons and additional case studies.  The Module will provide you with an in-depth exploration of the issues and complexities involved in perinatal mental health, and the implications on assessment. Specifically, this module will explore the background of these complexities and identify why there is a need for practitioner specialisation. Theories of cause, etiology and evidence-based risk factors for the development of these issues will be considered. We will also cover protective factors, and how internal and external influences interact and impact perinatal health and wellbeing. <h3>Learning outcomes</h3> By the end of Module one, you will be able to conduct an in-depth assessment of mild to moderate perinatal anxiety and depression, including the identification of various risk factors. You will have developed your perinatal specific assessment skills in differential diagnosis, and be able to identify the factors that can impact the assessment process and accurate working diagnosis. We will explore the specific issues to consider for risk assessment and safety planning, including the impact and risk to infants and children. Issues, challenges and the possible implication of mandatory reporting will also be identified. To progress to Lesson 1, please press 'Complete and continue' located at the top right of the page.


Module 2: Treatment of Mild-Moderate Perinatal Depression and Anxiety

Module two comprises of six lessons and revisits our four case studies. Here we will take you through various models of treatment, including social support and home based interventions as well as Psychotherapy and Psychopharmacology. You will draw on the assessment skills gained in Module one to formulate a Biopsychosocial model of care. In this second module we will focus on the interactive nature of the perinatal context and develop your treatment skills to reflect this unique stage of life. Particular focus is given to evidence based Psychotherapy approaches, reflecting the research that has formulated the National Guidelines. We will also examine Integrative interventions, Psychopharmacology and other Somatic Interventions. To further develop your perinatal treatment skills, the module will delve into the Family Systems involved in the perinatal context. This section will cover infant mental health, bonding and attachment, couple dynamics and relationship health, and the broader family unit and its role, impact and function. Reflecting the current zeitgeist of family diversity and transformation, we will also explore additional complexities faced by families such as the LGBTIQ+ communities.


Module 3: Referral Pathways, Management Plans, and Practitioner Development

This final module in the Intermediate skills course takes a slightly different tack. We now shift to a preventative perspective, exploring how we can best support families to thrive from as early as possible. Importantly, this Module also considers how to identify when to refer on to more specialist treatment referral pathways, and how to create an effective management plan that ensures the consumer does not “fall through the cracks” and continues to feel ‘held’ and ‘cared for’. Although this is an Intermediate skills course, this module will briefly consider management of severe perinatal mental illness, with particular focus on your role in supporting your clients through this transition from primary or secondary levels to tertiary consultative health care. We will conclude with a similar focus of prevention, however this section will centre on practitioner well-being and development, ensuring those who are “holding” the family unit, are also being ‘held’