Perinatal Mental Health

1h 15m of CPD
Karen-Ann Clarke
01 Dec 2015

This Course is designed for nurses or midwives who are caring for pregnant women/new mothers who show signs and symptoms of a mental health disorder.


Explain the role of accurate assessment and early intervention in the woman 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


Karen-Ann Clarke

Dr Karen-Ann Clarke is a Registered Nurse and a specialised mental health nurse, with 30 years’ experience of working with individuals and families impacted by the experiences of mental illness. Using a feminist narrative methodology, her PhD research explored the way in which women diagnosed with depression made decisions and meanings about receiving electroconvulsive therapy. As a lecturer in nursing at USC, Dr Clarke is responsible for the coordination of mental health curricula across multiple undergraduate and post-graduate programs. Teaching in excess of 900 undergraduate students each year, she is passionate about the value that immersive mental health simulation can bring to student’s learning and clinical skills, and the way that it can safely bring to life theoretical concepts related to mental health care. Dr Clarke currently supervises a number of honours, masters, and PhD students and is part of numerous research projects involving visualisation and simulation, mental illness, suicide prevention and the inclusion of people with lived experience of mental illness into the teaching and learning space.


Troy Dicks23 Aug 2018
A very good summary

Sarah Goddard09 Aug 2018
helpful over view of perinatal mental health informative and thoughtful education

Stacey Wicks07 Jul 2018
Great resource tool, not too lengthy so i didn't lose interest and the speaker was clear and concise throughout.

Avelina Go Chow15 Jun 2018
Very informative that health workers need to learn

Rebecca O'Sullivan10 Jun 2018
Great resource regarding perinatal mental healt

Katherine Hepworth26 May 2018

Amelia Hugo26 May 2018
Informative and relevant

Alana Cole26 May 2018
the best VLA I have watched

Susan Mary Newey21 May 2018
Using beautiful immaculately groomed and made up models for this otherwise excellent presentation devalued its authenticity. Women suffering anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders described in this resource are unlikely to present in this way.

Imelda P Collins15 May 2018
The educator presents well. she is very kinowledgeable with regards to this topic. i think that his presentation will assist others provide appropriate care.

Jinju Rajeev14 May 2018

Pooja Saini02 May 2018

Bronwyn chappel29 Apr 2018
What an excellent prsentation. easy to follow, informative compassionate.

Hannah Millard26 Apr 2018
fantastic learning package. Simple and easy to follow

suzanne roslyn mason11 Apr 2018
Was interesting

Katrina Johnson12 Mar 2018
Great learning module.

Michele Selby07 Mar 2018
Well presented and informative

Helen Wuttke06 Feb 2018
Absolutely recommend this training for any staff involved in Child and Maternal health.

Norest Mashonganyika23 Dec 2017
very well presented

Course Overview

Topics include:

  • Assessment of mental health during the perinatal period
  • Specific mental health disorders
  • Treatment options

Target audience

Nurses or midwives who are caring for pregnant women/new mothers who show signs and symptoms of a mental health disorder.


Enhance understanding of how the vulnerable nature of pregnancy and childbirth can influence the emergence of mental health disorders in women.


It is widely accepted that the perinatal period (including birth and the following twelve months) is a time of extraordinary change in a woman’s life and that is it very common for a woman to experience a wide range of emotions. For many women, anxieties and fears spontaneously resolve, however there is a growing number of women for whom pregnancy and parenthood can trigger more serious mental health concerns. Women 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 women, 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 her 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 evidenced-based, culturally safe and family-centered.

Health professionals in Australia that are registered with AHPRA are required to obtain continuing professional development (CPD) hours/points each year that relates to their context of practice, in order to comply with mandatory regulatory requirements.