Mental health and therapy

Perinatal and infant mental health

Perinatal and infant mental health is used to describe the psychological wellbeing of mothers and how that impacts their quality of bonding with their baby. Our care, along with help from partners and families, supports mothers and infants through this difficult time.

Caregiver with patient and her baby

What is perinatal and infant mental health?

Perinatal and infant mental health is the term used to describe the emotional wellbeing of mothers, during pregnancy and in the first years after childbirth, and how that impacts their bonding with their baby.

The most common perinatal mental health conditions experienced by mothers either during pregnancy or in the days, weeks, months or even years after birth are depression and anxiety.

During pregnancy and after giving birth, women are more likely to experience anxiety and depression than at any other point in their life.

Getting the care and support you need during this time is essential as it not only improves your wellbeing, but also your ability to care and nurture your baby.

How perinatal mental health programs can help you

Our holistic approach addresses your physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs, which are all important aspects of your recovery. We focus on your wellbeing and consider your relationships, your support network and your ability to bond with your baby.

Our experienced and caring perinatal specialists take the time to understand your situation and tailor your treatment or therapy to your needs.

We offer treatment for the whole spectrum of perinatal mental health issues, including:

  • Postnatal depression and/or anxiety – prolonged episodes (lasting two weeks or more) of sadness, irritability or anxiety, after the birth of a baby. It is often associated with loss of interest or enjoyment in social activities or sense of confidence in the parenting role. These episodes respond well to psychological counselling and more severe episodes may need treatment with antidepressants.
  • Postnatal psychosis – this is an uncommon but serious mental health episode following the birth of a baby and is often associated with a major impact on day-to-day function. This condition responds well to medication and women generally make a full recovery.

Programs available

We offer the only specialist inpatient program for mothers and their babies up to 12 months of age at our Mother and Baby Unit at St John of God Burwood Hospital, Sydney, in New South Wales.

Our focus is on helping you recover and help you develop a secure bond (or attachment) between you and your baby.

Your program will include a combination of group therapies or programs, and skills and support with feeding, sleep and settling issues that may arise in terms of baby care.

Partners are also encouraged to visit, stay overnight and participate in therapy and skills development with you.

What to expect?

Our 21-day program allows you and your baby to stay with us and get the care you need. Your partner is also invited to stay overnight.

Our facilities replicate a home-like environment and are warm and nurturing with many areas for you and your baby to relax and bond, or socialise with other mothers in the program.

Referrals and costs

You will need a GP referral or referral from another health professional to access our inpatient perinatal mental health treatment program.

Most private health insurers cover the costs of enrolling in our programs and excess or co-payment may be payable depending on your level of cover.

Care is also available through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Work Cover. Self-funded patients are welcome.

Interested in our perinatal mental health inpatient program?

To make an enquiry please fill in the form below. 

We offer a day program for mothers experiencing perinatal and infant mental health issues which focus on talking therapies, either in a group or individually with a psychiatrist.

We also offer the Circle of Security Program which aims to enhance the attachment security between you and your child so they always feel safe and supported.

Medicare-funded clinic

A Medicare-funded clinic is located at St John of God Burwood Hospital, and offers a full range of treatment and support for mothers experiencing perinatal infant mental health services. Appointments are with a senior perinatal psychiatry trainee and a GP referral is needed.

What to expect?

Our primary day program for perinatal mental health runs one day a week and you generally attend over nine weeks.

You can access this program after a stay in hospital or through a referral from your GP.

Make an enquiry below to find out more.

Referrals and costs

A GP referral from is needed to access our day perinatal mental health treatment program as well as our Medicare-funded clinic.

The costs involved with enrolling in our programs is covered by most private health insurers. Any excess and/or co-payment depends on your level of cover.

The Medicare-funded clinic does not require additional payment for women who fit the Medicare criteria.

We can provide care through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Work Cover. We also welcome self-funded patients.

Interested in our perinatal mental health day group program?

To make an enquiry please fill in the form below. 

You can choose to see one of our psychiatrists who specialises in helping people with perinatal mental health conditions. You can see a psychiatrist for individual appointments, in combination with a day program or as an inpatient.

What to expect?

Our psychiatrists will keep you informed about your rights regarding confidentiality, speak with you about your wellbeing, and work with you to develop a plan towards recovery. This plan can involve therapy and/or medication.

Single or ongoing appointments with your private psychiatrist are available.

Referrals and costs

A referral from a general practitioner is needed to see a private psychiatrist.

There is often a one-off fee for your first appointment with a private psychiatrist. We recommend you call your psychiatrist's rooms to check this cost before your appointment.

If your psychiatrist recommends you enrol in one of our anxiety treatment programs, the costs of these programs are covered by most private health insurers. Any excess and/or co-payment depends on your level of cover.

Interested in an appointment with a private psychiatrist?

To make an enquiry please fill in the form below or find a psychiatrist.

Please complete the form and we will contact you during regular office hours (9.00am to 5.00pm). If you require urgent help please call Lifeline: 13 11 14

If you do not receive a response to your enquiry within 24 hours please contact: info@sjog.org.au

Where we provide this service...