This Course is designed for nurses or midwives who are caring for pregnant people and new mothers who show signs and symptoms of a mental health disorder.
- Assessment of mental health during the perinatal period;
- Specific mental health disorders;
- Treatment options.
It is widely accepted that the perinatal period (including birth and the following twelve months) is a time of extraordinary change in a person's life and that it is very common to experience a wide range of emotions. For many mothers, anxieties and fears spontaneously resolve, however, there is a growing number of people for whom pregnancy and parenthood can trigger more serious mental health concerns. People who have a history of pre-existing mental health disorders, who experience a lack of support, who have a previous history of trauma, or who are isolated by distance or culture (such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers, or those from a culturally or linguistically diverse background) face a greater risk to their emotional wellbeing.
Mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more severe disorders such as psychosis, impact on the wellbeing of not only the mother but their baby and significant others and may have a profound impact upon the dynamics of family relationships. Nurses and midwives must have a fundamental understanding of these mental health disorders in order to screen for them effectively in the perinatal period and to recognise the emergence of signs and symptoms of mental ill-health. This will allow them to respond with care that is evidence-based, culturally safe and family-centred.
Enhance understanding of how the vulnerable nature of pregnancy and childbirth can influence the emergence of mental health disorders in mothers.
- Explain the role of accurate assessment and early intervention in the person who is experiencing mental distress.
- Describe the signs and symptoms of a variety of mental health disorders arising in the perinatal period.
- List the common treatment options available to treat these disorders with an emphasis on the safety for both mother and baby.
Nurses or midwives who are caring for pregnant women/new mothers who show signs and symptoms of a mental health disorder.
No conflict of interest exists for anyone in the position to control content for this activity. Wherever possible, generic or non-proprietary names of medications or products have been used.