The West

New mums in NSW to get mental health care
New mums in NSW to get mental health care

Mums and bubs in regional areas of NSW will have access to some of the top mental health doctors in the state under a new pilot program.

Mental Health Minister Kevin Humphries launched the $240,000 Statewide Outreach Perinatal Service for Mental Health at Westmead Hospital in Sydney on Thursday.

The 15-month pilot program to tackle illnesses like post-natal depression is already underway in Orange and Lismore, and could be taken statewide if deemed successful.

"Women in these areas have been missing out, and one of the reasons why we put together a mental health portfolio was to start to coordinate the services that we've got across the state," Mr Humphries told AAP.

"Too often, previously, women with mental illness either pre- or post-birth were separated from their babies.

"That's not good for the mother and it's not good for the baby."

The program aims to build perinatal mental health expertise in regional NSW through over-the-phone teleconferences and face-to-face consultation.

Westmead Hospital's Josey Anderson, a specialist in child psychiatry who will help the hospital implement the new program, said it was already building capacity in the pilot areas.

"It's actually helping local clinicians manage really complex cases where they've got a lot of concerns doing everything they should," she told AAP.

Dr Anderson said a woman's mental health around the birth of a child could have a profound effect on the child's own mental health and behaviour further down the track.

"It's about getting the right start for mother and baby, and we know that early intervention ... really helps," she said.


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