Position paper

Supporting young parents: addressing perinatal and youth mental health needs

Mental health promotion Parenting programs Perinatal Parenting and guardianship Mental health Youth Australia

Parenthood can be both a rewarding and challenging experience for new and expecting parents. During this time of transition, experiences of mental ill-health are common. Young parents disproportionately experience mental ill-health or mental ill-health risk factors.

Based on consultations with young parents and perinatal mental health organisations, Orygen and PANDA make 14 policy recommendations in the paper, including:

  • That the Australian Government Department of Health lead the establishment of a national perinatal mental health strategy which includes a dedicated focus on young parents;
  • That state, territory and national guidelines, services and resources meet the needs of young parents. This includes assessing the youth-friendliness of mother-baby units, adding webchat support to PANDA’s mental health helpline, and making sure perinatal mental health websites have youth-specific content; and
  • That the Australian Government increase national vocational supports. Becoming a young parent can disrupt education and employment at a pivotal time. Extra support includes expanding eligibility for the federal Additional Child Care Subsidy to include young people engaged in education, or improving pathways between perinatal mental health services and youth mental health vocational support services.
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