General News — 27 November 2012

Perinatal depression stemming from births this year could cost Australia close to $500 million before the childrens’ second birthday, a national report reveals.

The Price Waterhouse Coopers report commissioned by Beyondblue found the total cost of not treating the nation’s perinatal depression and related anxiety arising from the 290,000 predicted births this year would be $496 million over the next two years.

Launching the report earlier this week, Minister of Health and Ageing Mark Butler said “We’ve known for some time the emotional and human toll of post and antenatal depression but this is the first time anyone has tried to quantify that cost in terms of lost productivity from days absent from work and the cost to the health system.”

The exorbitant figure covers costs generated from conception through to the childrens’ second birthday, with the Department of Health and Ageing forecasting further costs down the track.

As part of the National Perinatal Depression Initiative the government is seeking to improve prevention and early detection of antenatal and postnatal depression, as well as providing better
support and treatment for patients.

As first appeared in Psychiatry Update, 22 November 2012

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