New and expectant mothers across the Darling Downs will soon have access to a digital mental health screening tool as part of their antenatal appointments.
The program called iCOPE screens mothers for symptoms of depression, anxiety, and accesses psychosocial risk factors.
Warwick Hospital is the pilot site, launching this program on Tuesday 19 September. Dalby, Goondiwindi, Stanthorpe, Kingaroy, and Toowoomba will closely follow in October.
Warwick Hospital Midwifery Unit Manager, Ross Newton said the maternity unit is excited to be launching iCOPE and working towards the shared goal of ensuring all mothers receive mental wellbeing screening during their pregnancy and the year after the birth of their baby.
“Having a baby is an incredibly emotional and life changing experience for parents,” Mr Newton said.
“Anxiety and depression can be common feelings for mothers. That’s why it’s so important we make sure the mothers mental wellbeing is being prioritised alongside her physical health, and this screening tool does that.
“It works by sending mothers an SMS with a link to a questionnaire that can be completed in the privacy and comfort of their own home.
“Once they have completed the questionnaire, our midwives are able to see the answers and have meaningful conversations with the mothers about their mental health and take necessary steps towards improving their wellbeing.
“We hope by using this tool we can identify mothers struggling with their mental health, and work with them to have a more positive and supported journey into motherhood.”
Warwick Hospital Midwifery Unit Manager, Ross Newton
This program improves current mental health screening processes in place during antenatal appointments.
The iCOPE Program has been created by the Centre of Perinatal Excellence COPEorg in partnership with Diginostic and is supported by the Australian Federal Government.
To find out more about this program visit here – www.icope.org.au