NEW 2023 National Perinatal Mental Health Guideline

COPE perinatal mental health guideline

COPE: Centre of Perinatal Excellence was commissioned by the Commonwealth Government of Australia to review and update the National Perinatal Mental Health Guideline in 2023.

An Expert Working Group (EWG) formed to develop the National Guideline 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 – Effective Mental Health Care in the Perinatal Period: Australian Clinical Practice Guideline.

Through the work of the EWG, together with specialist Expert Subcommittees, the National Guideline was drafted and brought to public consultation.  Obtained consultation feedback was reviewed for the finalisation of the National Guideline and submission to the NHMRC.

Order Hard Copy of 2023 Guidelines

Download 2023 Australian Clinical Practice Guideline

Details of the Approved National Guideline

Guideline Title:  Effective Mental Health Care in the Perinatal Period: Australian COPEClinical Practice Guideline. 2023 Revision

Guideline Developer:  COPE: Centre of Perinatal Excellence – ABN: 50 203 962 931

Guideline Scope:  The scope of the National Guideline includes the assessment of the high prevalence disorders and the treatment and management of these, together with severe mental illnesses in primary care settings. New additions to the 2023 Guideline includes screening and psychosocial assessment for fathers and non-birthing partners, and the management of psychological birth trauma.

Disorders covered in the Guideline include:

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

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

Consultation Period:  1 December 2022 – 30 January 2023

Launch Date:  June 2, 2023

How to Access the National Guideline and Technical Report

The National Guideline and Administrative (Technical) Report are available in the links below.  Due to the extensive length of the Technical Report, each section can be downloaded individually.

Download 2023 Guideline

Administrative Report

Click on link below to download the Administrative Report:

Download Administrative Report

Technical Reports

There are six volumes of the technical reports which can be accessed via the links below:

  • Part A: Overall approach for developing the Australian Perinatal Mental Health Guideline – Download
  • Part B: Psychosocial assessment and screening for depression or anxiety in the perinatal period – Download
  • Part C: Effectiveness of treatment and prevention interventions for depression and anxiety in the perinatal period – Download
  • Part D: Harms associated with treatment and prevention interventions for mental health disorders in the perinatal period – Download
  • Part E: Treatment and prevention of mental health problems arising from traumatic birth experience – Download
  • Part F: Perinatal mental health assessment of fathers and non-birthing partners – Download

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 Women and their Families

  • A series of antenatal fact sheets for pregnant women and their families about mental health conditions
  • A series of postnatal fact sheets for parents and their families about mental health conditions
  • Ready to COPE, a free email series designed to guide women and men through their pregnancy and the first twelve months in the postnatal period. Ready to COPE highlights a range of challenges women and men may face and provides helpful preventative strategies.

Resources for Health Professionals

Various tools have been developed to support health professionals in the delivery of best practice. 

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

Sign up to Health Professional Register

Online Training Program for Health Professionals

COPE has created a free accredited online training program for health professionals to support guideline implementation for health professionals across primary, maternity and postnatal healthcare settings. This will be updated and released in July 2023.

Take the Online Course