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 perinatal mental health course to build your specialist skills and expertise

Applied Skills in Perinatal Mental Health Assessment and Care has been designed for trained mental health professionals wishing to gain specialist expertise in perinatal mental health. It's also highly relevant to other health professionals working within the perinatal field and supporting the perinatal mental health and well-being of clients and their families.

Developed in line with the 2023 National Perinatal Mental Health Guideline, the course provides a valuable framework to guide and enhance your skills in perinatal mental health assessment, treatment and planning. Successful completion of the course will demonstrate perinatal mental health expertise within your discipline.

NB: Completion of this course will not qualify you for professional registration as a mental health professional

Course snapshot

  • 25+ hours of online learning
  • Complete at your own pace (suggested 12 weeks to consolidate your learning) with ongoing access to all lessons and resources for the lifetime of the course*
  • 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 (Effective Mental Health Care in the Perinatal Period: Australian Clinical Practice Guideline. 2023 Revision)

*Please note: The timeframe of 12 weeks is purely a suggestion to consolidate your learning. You will not lose access to the course after this time, rather the course remains available to complete at your own pace.

Course cost

  • $1,200 AUD + GST upfront, or payment plan (3x $400 + GST). Note: Purchase of this course entitles course access and certification for one person only.
  • 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. Contact to arrange this.

Create account to purchase

New here? Create an account to purchase this course.

Create account

Returning student?

Log in to resume this course or purchase other courses.

Log in

Why take this perinatal mental health training?

An ideal launch pad into perinatal mental health

Would you like to expand your perinatal mental health knowledge and expertise, but can't find any perinatal mental health courses that suit your schedule?

Do you dream of running a dedicated or specialist private practice, or want to work with specialist colleagues across services?

Perhaps you're ready to upskill within perinatal psychology training and offer something unique to women who are in the perinatal journey, and their families.

Whether you are establishing a private practice or working in a team, COPE's Applied Skills in Perinatal Mental Health Assessment and Care is an ideal launch pad into the specialty area of perinatal mental health.

This perinatal training program is also an opportunity to stay up-to-date with the latest guidelines and research, and fulfil CPD requirements of your mental health professional development.

Complete CPD in your own time, at your own pace

Applied Skills in Perinatal Health Care and Assessment is an intensive online program that can be completed in your own time and at your own pace, making the first perinatal mental health course of its kind, worldwide.

All course content is underpinned by evidence-based best practice in accordance with the Australian Clinical Practice Guideline developed by COPE for the Australian government and approved by National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Once you've completed this perinatal mental health course via distance learning, you can:

  • Register on the eCOPE Directory
  • Receive a COPE Accredited Provider logo
  • Expand your own business
  • Apply for perinatal mental health positions, confident in your knowledge and skills

Gain skills and resources for assessing, managing and treating perinatal mental health conditions

Perinatal mental health is a highly specialised field. It also brings unique contextual factors which must be considered and incorporated into the assessment, management and treatment of perinatal mental health conditions.

This course is designed to help you move away from a general mental health approach to one of specialised perinatal mental health practice, in line with the current National Guidelines. Through the presentation of information and consumer insights, this course will equip you with models for undertaking a comprehensive perinatal mental health assessment and approaches to effective treatment and management.

The course also includes case studies based on real-life scenarios and consumer journeys, so you can apply your learning throughout the course and increase your knowledge, confidence and competence as a perinatal health professional.

Upon successful completion of this online course, you will:

  • Know the nuances of perinatal assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mild-moderate perinatal depression and anxiety disorders.
  • Be able to conduct an in-depth assessment using perinatal-specific formulation skills.
  • Use your newly-acquired perinatal-specific formulation skills to guide the management of mental health disorders in this specialised area.
  • Understand the unique nuances of specific population groups and consider the implications for assessment, treatment and care planning.
  • Apply your perinatal specific formulation skills to the provision of evidence-informed speciality care and therapeutic interventions for the mother, infant, fathers and partners
  • Develop a comprehensive knowledge of the pathways to care and be able to identify when to refer to more specialist treatment
  • Gain knowledge, skills and insights from perinatal experts about practising as a specialist in this complex field.
  • 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.
  • Increase your confidence to apply learnings through the application of knowledge and theory to real-life studies.

What's included in this perinatal mental health course?

Applied Skills in Perinatal Mental Health

To nurture your mental health professional development and set you up for success, you'll be provided with…

  • Immediate and unlimited access to all course training and resources for the life of the course - even after course completion
  • 3 course modules, 14 lessons
  • 25+ hours of online learning that you can complete in your own time, at your own pace
  • Presentation notes summarising course content
  • Lesson notes, handouts and resources throughout the course
  • Course manual for future reference and practice
  • Case studies based on real life to apply your learning
  • Clinical workbooks for each module with built-in templates to guide your application of theory into practice
  • Templates and resources such as assessment templates and care plans to use in practice during and following the course
  • Lesson assessments to consolidate your learning and track your progress
  • Digital certificate on completion


  • COPE Clinical Practice Guide (provided upon completion) for use in your clinical practice

Course modules and lessons

Module 1: Background and accurate assessment

Applied Skills Module 1
  • Why perinatal mental health is uniquely important
  • What impacts the development of perinatal mental health issues
  • Perinatal Mental Health biopsychosocial model
  • Mild to moderate perinatal mental health issues
  • Accurate assessment
  • Reflective approaches to assessment


  • Case studies

Module 2: Treatment of mild-moderate perinatal depression and anxiety

Applied Skills Module 2
  • Treatment of perinatal mental health disorders
  • Psychosocial Interventions
  • Family Systems and Perinatal Mental Health
  • Evidence-based psychotherapy approaches
  • Pharmacotherapy and Management of Severe Perinatal Mental Illness


  • Case Studies

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

Applied Skills Module 3
  • Unique Populations and Issues in Perinatal Mental Health
  • Care Plans and Referral Pathways
  • Practitioner Self-care and Development


  • 4 Case Studies, revisited - Lucy, Megan, Tham, and Jenny

You'll also receive the COPE Practice Guide

Filled with tools and templates to support the continued application of the course in your day-to-day clinical work

Online Course - Applied Skills in Perinatal Mental Health

Plus, get automatic qualification for the eCOPE directory

Successful completion of the course means you will receive a certificate as proof of completion. This can be presented for accreditation purposes.

Your certificate can be provided to your registration body and enables automatic qualification to be featured on the eCOPE Directory - a national database supporting people to identify services with expertise in perinatal emotional and mental health.

Your course presenter

Dr Nicole Highet, perinatal mental health specialist

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, 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.

Having specialised in perinatal mental health for over 25 years, Nicole has overseen the implementation of national screening programs (iCOPE), guideline and resource development together with extensive training and development for health professionals and community leaders. She has also been responsible for the development and execution of national education and awareness campaigns including the Ready to COPE app, and The Truth.

Now is an opportune time to establish a career as a perinatal mental health expert

With the national roll-out of the perinatal mental health screening tool, iCOPE, the demand for perinatal mental health support and treatment continues to grow.

Create account to purchase

New here? Create an account to purchase this course.

Create account

Returning student?

Log in to resume this course or purchase other courses.

Log in


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.


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


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’