Infant mental health

Infant mental health can be described as the emotional, social and cognitive wellbeing of babies and children aged 0 to three.

Newborn baby holding parents fingers

A child’s relationships with their parents and carers during the first few years of life can have a profound effect on their emotional development – their ability to cope with stress, regulate emotions and interact with others. This, in turn, influences their social and emotional wellbeing throughout their life.

Bonding with your child and developing secure and stable relationships is important, but it isn’t always easy. We can work with you to identify and minimise risk factors and support you throughout pregnancy and your child’s early years.

Our infant mental health services

We provide specialist services to parents and families who experience anxiety, depression and other mental health issues during pregnancy and following childbirth (the perinatal period).

Our services can be accessed from the time you fall pregnant up until your child is four years old.

How we help

If you are experiencing perinatal anxiety and depression or finding it difficult to connect emotionally with your baby, you are not alone. Perinatal anxiety and depression affects one in seven mothers, and one in 10 fathers.

We take a whole of family approach, providing parents and caregivers with the skills and resources they need to take care of their own wellbeing and raise children who are emotionally healthy and resilient.

If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression during pregnancy or after childbirth, please consider making an appointment with your GP, who can refer you to our Raphael Services.

In the event of a crisis, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, your local community mental health service, or hospital emergency department.

Our infant mental health services provide a range of benefits, including:

  • holistic, patient-centred therapies to manage anxiety, depression and other issues that may prevent you connecting with your child
  • improving parenting  skills so you can feel connected to your child and confident in your relationships
  • providing education and resources about infant mental health and emotional development.

These benefits depend on your particular circumstances and require you to fully participate in necessary care and management. You should consult a specialist in this area before deciding whether treatment is suitable for you.

Further reading

Anxiety and depression services