News

Drug and Alcohol screening tool highlighted at Australasian Perinatal Mental Health Conference

A St John of God Raphael Services led project will be one of the highlights at this year’s Australasian Marce Society for Perinatal Mental Health Conference hosted in Perth.

 AoD

4 October 2019

The Perinatal Alcohol and other Drugs (AoD) and Mental Health Integration Project was designed to increase the capability of Raphael Services clinicians to screen, assess and where relevant provide intervention to clients with co-occurring perinatal mental health and mild to moderate AoD issues.

National Project Officer for Raphael Services Jane Leung and Manager Raphael Services WA Donna Kristianopulos will present the project at the conference, which provides a forum to exchange ideas with like-minded professionals concerned with the welfare of women and their families around the time of childbirth.

The project, which commenced in June 2017 aims to improve outcomes for families in the perinatal period by increasing client understanding of the risks of alcohol and other drug use and improve referral pathways to alcohol and other drugs services, which has been made possible thanks to funding from the Western Australian Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA).

There was an identified need for the resource to be available to general practitioners (GPs) and other health professionals.

An online review of available resources did not identify specific resources relating to the perinatal period and alcohol and other drugs.

In 2018 the project was extended to provide capacity building for GPs, midwives and nurses working with families in the perinatal period to undertake AoD assessments, provide appropriate referral and access resources, and to develop an eLearning package to support Raphael Services caregivers.

To date, Raphael Services has provided capacity building to over 200 allied health, medical practitioners, midwives and nurses. The project has also provided individualised training, established new assessment processes, delivered regular supervision, and implemented referral pathways across all Raphael Services nationally.

About the conference

The Australasian Chapter of the Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health will hold its biennial conference in Perth, Western Australia from 10-12 October 2019.

The conference theme is Love and Fear: Becoming a person within a family, and will explore sub-themes including the impact of trauma, the birth experience and pre-conception influences, among others.