AIHTA - Publications - Search - Perinatal and infant mental health care in Austria: A mapping of existing prevention, screening and care structures, with a specific focus on Tyrol

Zechmeister-Koss, I. (2023): Perinatal and infant mental health care in Austria: A mapping of existing prevention, screening and care structures, with a specific focus on Tyrol. HTA-Projektbericht 151.

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Background: Up to 20% of women and 10% of men suffer from mental health problems such as depression or anxiety disorders during pregnancy until 1 year after birth (perinatal period). If left untreated, these problems often have negative consequences for the parent, but most importantly for child development and child health. They also result in high economic costs, for example in the education and social sector. Many countries therefore prioritise measures to improve mental health around birth.

Method: This report provides a mapping of the Austrian prevention and care structure based on publicly available information.

Results: There are no valid data on the prevalence of perinatal mental health problems in Austria. Applying the international prevalence data to Austria, we can assume about 16,000 affected mothers and 8,000 affected fathers per year. Currently there is no systematic screening for perinatal mental illness in Austria, as recommended and implemented in other countries. The recommended integration of such a screening into the national screening programme (Mutter-Kind-Pass) has not yet been implemented. There is also a lack of defined care pathways for different degrees of severity of perinatal mental problems. Although there are several services that can be used by parents with perinatal mental health illness (e.g. ‘Frühe Hilfen’), specialised perinatal mental health care is only available to a limited extent and not in every Austrian region. The number of available mother-child beds for severe mental health problems after childbirth deviates significantly from international recommendations.

Discussion and conclusion: The current care situation reflects a low health and socio-political priority of the topic. In addition to reducing regional inequalities and improving specialised services, an improvement of the situation must also focus on the structural determinants of mental illness during the perinatal period (e.g. risk of poverty, domestic violence, lack of social support).

Item Type:Project Report
Keywords:Perinatal mental illness, postnatal depression, screening, perinatal and infant mental health, mental health care, prevention
Subjects:W Health professions > W 84 Health services. Quality of health care
WA Public health > WA 308 Family health
WA Public health > WA 309 Women´s health
WA Public health > WA 310 Maternal and child welfare
WM Psychiatry > WM 140 Mental disorders
WQ Obstetrics > WQ 200-212 Pregnancy
WQ Obstetrics > WQ 500-505 Postpartum period
WS Pediatrics
WS Pediatrics > WS 420 Newborn infants. Neonatology
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Series Name:HTA-Projektbericht 151
Deposited on:05 Apr 2023 15:02
Last Modified:05 Apr 2023 15:02

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