Climbing the ladder of support
Getting the care we need, when we need it, in the way that feels right for us, is all part of the healing journey. Sometimes it can feel impossible to get support (particularly when starting a family) because the needs of others can seem so immediate and important, so our needs slip to the bottom of the list.
When we are in the thick of it all, it can be hard to know what will help us most. If you have a list of people or strategies that have helped you through past challenges, you could access these again. If you don’t have any people or strategies to turn to, you can use this ladder of support below.
Imagine support as a ladder, and each rung of the ladder represents a higher level of care and support:
- The lowest rung might be a cup of tea that hits the spot or taking a moment to reset by applying your favourite hand cream.
- The next rung might be calling a friend and talking through your day, listening to a podcast that helps you feel more connected, or reading trusted information (available through our partners) about what you’re experiencing.
- The next rung may be an appointment with your GP to talk about what you’re feeling and about how to access the next rungs on your ladder.
- The next rung might be seeing a mental health care provider, women’s health physio or gaining access to family support.
The Parent-Infant Research Institute’s evident-based stepped-care model of care is a framework for providing mental health support to perinatal parents based on their individual needs. It is a tiered approach, with each step providing a different level of support. The goal is to provide parents with the right level of care at the right time, so that they can get the help they need to recover and thrive.
The stepped-care model of care consists of five steps:
- e-resources for all parents: This step includes resources such as MumSpace, DadSpace, Baby Steps and What Were We Thinking! It is appropriate for parents who are experiencing little to mild symptoms and are able to manage their own care.
- e-screening: This step involves the use of an electronic clinical decision support system, PIRIMID (Perinatal Identification, Referral and Integrated Management for Improving Depression), designed to bridge the gap between perinatal depression screening and effective care. PIRIMID bridges the gap between perinatal depression screening and effective care by providing step-by-step guidance for pathways to care and a printable, one-page management plan that aligns with national perinatal mental health clinical guidelines.
- e-prevention: This step includes resources such as e-Towards Parenthood and the MindMum App. The programs provide effective strategies to help lift your mood, strengthen relationships and feel supported and confident.
- e-treatment: This step includes resources such as Mum2BMoodBooster and MumMoodBooster, online treatment programs for both antenatal and postnatal depression. These free online programs are based on PIRI’s successful Getting Ahead of Postnatal Depression (GAPND) program and consist of six interactive CBT sessions designed to help women develop skills and strategies that will assist in improving their mood.
- Referral to specialist care: This step involves referral to a mental health professional. It is appropriate for parents who are experiencing more severe symptoms or who need more intensive support.
The stepped-care model of care is a flexible and effective way to provide mental health support to perinatal parents. It ensures that parents receive the right level of care at the right time, and it allows them to move up or down the steps as needed.
You are not alone climbing this ladder
We’re here, uncover your village.
Visit pmhweek.org.au to find support for expectant and new parents in need.