More help for mums and bubs during post-natal depression
A re-elected Keneally Government will create the State’s first public mother and baby mental health unit, helping new mums grappling with post-natal depression and their babies stay together while receiving the care and treatment they need.
The new eight-bed mother and baby unit and increased housing assistance for people with a mental illness are key features of NSW Labor’s new mental health policy – ‘Mental health is health’ – launched today.
The policy outlines $98 million in new commitments and helps people with a mental illness stay healthy in the community, strengthens their resilience and improves early intervention services.
Premier Kristina Keneally was joined by the Minister Assisting the Minister for Health on Mental Health Barbara Perry, Member for Canterbury Linda Burney and Member for Lakemba Robert Furolo to launch the policy.
Ms Keneally said the new specialist state-wide mother and baby unit would be a vital service that allowed mothers to access mental health care while still keeping their baby with them.
“New mothers who are admitted into an inpatient unit can be separated from their baby at a time when it is crucial they be together,” Ms Keneally said.
“Experts say admitting a mother and baby together helps them improve their bond, and can improve breastfeeding during the crucial period of early infant development.
“This new peri-natal unit means new mums needing mental health services can get the care they need and still build a close bond with their newborn baby.”
The new unit will cost $13.6 million over four years to set up and operate.
A re-elected Keneally Government will assess the most suitable location for the new facility, based on factors including birth rates and the areas where clinical need is highest.
Under ‘Mental health is health’, a re-elected Keneally Government will also:
- Invest $16 million to expand maternity and post-natal home visits to support mothers at risk of post-natal depression;
- Invest $20.8 million to reduce homelessness by doubling the number of places in the successful Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative (HASI), which helps people with a mental illness retain tenancies and receive ongoing support in the home and local community;
- Invest $14 million to expand community-based child and adolescent mental health services, through the establishment of Assertive Community Response teams at three pilot sites, in Western Sydney, the Hunter and the Illawarra;
- Invest $5.92 million to increase mental health services for regional residents, by expanding the number of ‘Declared Mental Health Facilities’ in rural and regional NSW so people can be treated closer to home;
- Expand high-level mental health research by investing $3 million to set up a Mental Health Clinical Academic Research Program, and $2 million in the work of NSW-based world-leading schizophrenia researcher, Professor Cyndi Shannon Weickert, Chair of Schizophrenia Research;
- Invest $3 million to expand mental health services for older people through expansion of specialist services at the Calvary Mater Hospital in the Hunter;
- Invest 6.9 million to establish two Drug and Alcohol Involuntary Treatment Centres to provide short-term involuntary treatment of people with severe substance dependence; and
- Continue the $1.2 million a year investment in beyondblue. Ms Perry said the doubling of places in the Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative would have a significant impact on homelessness.
“The Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative has proven effective in helping people with a mental illness obtain and maintain their own housing by providing clinical, rehabilitation and social support in the home, with help from Housing NSW, NSW Health and the NGO sector,” Ms Perry said.
“Labor’s expansion brings the total number of places in the program across NSW to 2200, further helping to reduce hospital admissions and ensuring people get continuing care in the community.”
A University of NSW study of an earlier stage of the Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative showed:
- An 81 per cent reduction in the time participants spent in hospital and in emergency departments;
- 94 per cent of participants had established friendships; and • 73 per cent participated in social and community activities.
Ms Burney said the new mental health policy highlighted Labor’s commitment to helping society’s most vulnerable people, as well as their families and carers.
“This new mental health policy ensures we can continue to help at-risk people early, reduce admissions to hospital and boost the community’s resilience,” Ms Burney said.
Mr Furolo said: “This comprehensive policy shows Labor takes the mental health of local residents seriously.
“Labor’s investment in mental health contrasts with the silence from the Coalition on this important priority.”
The mental health budget has tripled since Labor took office.
- There are more than 1.1 million people living with mental disorders in NSW 50% of people living with a mental illness show recognisable symptoms before age 15 and only some 25% of young people access any mental health services, even though 65% will require mental health support.
- In Australia, there are around one million adults and 100,000 young people living with depression each year.
- Around 750,000 people in NSW identify themselves as carers, with around 1 in 10 of these carers supporting someone with a mental illness.
- Under Labor there has been record investment in mental health, this year totalling $1.231billion.
- There are now 2,636 mental health beds across NSW (as at June 10).
- The mental health workforce has increased by 20% in the past six years, with more than 8,600 mental health workers across NSW
- NSW Labor’s continued investment in mental health research has already secured five of the world’s top ten leading mental health researchers working in our universities and research institutes.
- NSW now holds the lowest rates of suicide in the country per head of population (7.8 per 100,000)
You can read more about our mental health police here.
Tags: depression, health, mental health, babies, , policy, post-natal