e-PIMH trialled a model for supporting the existing workforce in rural and remote areas to respond effectively to the mental health needs of expectant and new parents and their infants.
The project engaged with health workers and others who support expectant and new parents, infants, young children and families in these areas, including:
- mental health services
- non-government organisations
- early childhood education and care workers
Between February and August 2016, the project provided:
- non-clinical advice and support via telephone, email and video conferencing
- training and education via videoconferencing, or on-site when possible
- outreach visits to rural and remote sites
- regular provision of resources via email
Participants in the e-PIMH evaluation indicated that the model had:
- improved their awareness of perinatal mental health
- improved their awareness of infant mental health
- improved their skills in detecting problems with mental health and wellbeing
- provided useful resources to help them in working with clients
- increased their knowledge of where to find perinatal and infant mental health resources
- improved local connections and referral pathways for perinatal and infant mental health
- enhanced their practice in working with clients, through their own improved understanding of perinatal and infant mental health
Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they had shared resources accessed through e-PIMH with colleagues and other service providers. These resources were identified as helpful in:
- having conversations with clients around perinatal and infant mental health
- starting discussions with colleagues about mental health promotion and early intervention
- providing support where there is no local specialist perinatal and infant mental health service
- identifying options for professional development, access to research/ the evidence-base, and information about events and activities in the perinatal and infant mental health sector
Participants identified a strong need for non-clinical components of the e-PIMH service. Overwhelmingly, they also identified the need for an additional clinical component: a secondary consultation-liaison service, by which specialist perinatal and infant psychiatrists can support front-line health practitioners and service providers in rural and remote areas via telehealth.
A statewide e-PIMH Telepsychiatry service has now been established on the foundation of the e-PIMH pilot project. Evaluation of the new service will be undertaken from 2018.
Visit the e-PIMH Telehealth page.