About the National Perinatal Mental Health Check
On 12 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 world-first digital Perinatal Mental Health Check Program. On 11 May, 2021, the then Treasurer, The Hon Josh Frydenberg announced the expansion of the Program for a further two years, now until July 2025.
Of this investment, funding will be provided to the Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE) to roll out iCOPE, our digital mental health screening tool, in every public maternity hospital and maternal and child health centre in Australia. this will be at no cost the States and Territories as it is fully funded by the Commonwealth Government under this Initiative.
Funding is also earmarked for a National Partnership Agreement with state and territory governments to encourage the uptake and delivery of iCOPE, and/or to expand services for perinatal support in the community sector.
Engagement of states and territories
Since the initial announcement, the Commonwealth established a state and territory senior officials steering group to provide a mechanism for engagement to ensure successful implementation of the the Hospital to Home and Wellbeing Program in addition to other funded areas in mental health.
State and territory governments have been engaged by the Commonwealth via nominated senior officers to plan the rollout across jurisdictions. Rollout of the program has commenced across the state of Victoria across public maternity hospitals and maternal and child health settings. This includes development and integration of the iCOPE clinical reports (clinical event summaries) across hospital and community health record systems. Work to integrate health record systems and build interoperability between iCOPE and state and territory patient health record systems and databases is funded under this Program.
About the program
The Program is designed to support public hospitals and maternal and child health centres 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 only Platform in Australia designed to implement perinatal mental health screening, and will be available nationally under the Program to participating jurisdictions.
The funding will include the provision of digital screening to both expectant and new mothers in line with the National Guideline. For the first time, fathers will also be offered screening.
The digital approach to screening will also facilitate screening and reporting in multiple languages. Currently screening tools is available in twelve languages, and this will be significantly expanded through funding provided through the Program.
Register your interest
If you represent a public maternity hospital or maternal, child and family health service and would like to register your interest to take part in the Program, please fill in our Expressions of Interest form below. This will scope the size and specific needs of your hospital or health service. On receiving your completed form, the team at COPE will be in touch with your nominated representative.