PIRI Programs for Depression, Prematurity & Babies

PIRI Programs for Depression, Prematurity & Babies

The team at PIRI have developed a number of programs designed to help women and their families during their transition to parenthood, and to support and enhance the early parent-infant relationship. The programs are relatively brief and cost effective in an effort to make them accessible to all families who are suitable and interested in taking part. Most of the programs can be accessed via the Infant Clinic – a specialised treatment service designed to offer support to new and expectant parents during pregnancy and the first two years of life.

An Overview of PIRI’s Evidence-based Programs

PIRI conducts leading research in the areas of parent-infant difficulties, prematurity, antenatal and postnatal depression, PIRI has developed the following community programs, some of which are still being trialled. Some of PIRI’s current programs include:

  1. Getting Ahead of Postnatal Depression (group or individual treatment for postnatal depression). This treatment program is the only Australian cognitive behavioural therapy intervention for postnatal depression and was the basis for the development of an internet treatment program (MumMoodBooster). This program has been robustly validated in several trials and has had wide uptake in Australia and internationally.
  2. MumMoodBooster (a web based cognitive behavioural therapy for women with postnatal depression, developed in collaboration with Oregon Research Institute).
  3. Beating The Blues Before Birth (a group or individual treatment for antenatal depression).
  4. HUGS – a mother-infant intervention following postnatal depression.
  5. Community HUGS – a Community adaptation of the HUGS program for vulnerable mothers.
  6. PRIMER: Promoting Motivation, Empowerment & Readiness (a program to maximise help-seeking for perinatal depression through motivational interviewing).
  7. PremieStart – a parent sensitivity training program for families of premature infants.
  8. Towards Parenthood – an evaluated self-help intervention to prepare for parenthood; book published in English and Italian.

MumMoodBooster programs

MumMoodBooster programs

The MumMoodBooster programs are free, online treatments which may be suitable for pregnant women or new mothers and are:

  • Struggling to cope
  • Feeling flat, sad, or depressed

Mum2BMoodBooster (antenatal)

Mum2BMoodBooster is a free online program designed to help women recover from antenatal depression.  By joining you will:

  • Have access to six online sessions that can be personalized to fit their situation.
  • Gain access to an online library and optional partner support website
  • Be asked to complete online questionnaires

The internet treatment will be supplemented by a personal coach

To join or find out more, visit the Mum2BMoodBooster website

MumMoodBooster (postnatal)

MumMoodBooster is an online treatment program for postnatal depression. As part of the treatment trial you will be randomly allocated to one of three treatment options: MumMoodBooster, face-to-face therapy, or standard care with your GP/ Maternal Child Health Nurse. If you are assigned to MumMoodBooster, you will complete 6 interactive online sessions that will teach you skills known to improve depression. You will also receive a weekly support call from a phone coach, access to an online library and to a web forum. If you have a current partner, they will be provided with a useful support website.

To join, or for more information, visit the MumMoodBooster website

If you would like to speak to someone regarding MumMoodBooster, please contact us on (03) 9496 4496 or piri@austin.org.au.

If you have any questions about our research programs please contact our friendly staff, or see our FAQs About Research.

If you are health professional wishing to refer a client to one of our free treatment programs, please contact us on (03) 9496 4496 or piri@austin.org.au

Established Programs

Established Programs

Postnatal Depression and Anxiety Treatment Programs

Getting Ahead of Postnatal Depression

Getting Ahead of Postnatal Depression (GAPND) is a twelve-session cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) group program designed specifically for postnatal women to improve maternal mood. The program consists of 9 weekly sessions for mothers (each session is approximately 1.5 hours) which are also complimented by 3 couples sessions that focus on the important role of fathers and the couple relationship.

During the 9 sessions women learn strategies to help manage their mood by developing key behavioral and cognitive skills.

A number of psychosocial risk factors and common problems experienced by postnatal women and their partners are also addressed during the sessions.

The GAPND program has been extensively evaluated and found to be highly effective in improving maternal mood.

 Click here to find out more or email us at piri@austin.org.au

Preparation for Parenthood

Towards Parenthood

The Towards Parenthood Program is designed to help pregnant women and their partners prepare for the transition to parenthood and the challenges associated with becoming a parent. It covers issues not often discussed in routine antenatal classes, such as communication between couples. The Towards Parenthood program was initially created and trialled as a self-help program, supported by weekly telephone counselling and was shown to be helpful in enhancing mood, while also reducing levels of parenting stress.

To order a copy of Towards Parenthood, see our Products and Information.

Antenatal Depression & Anxiety Support and Treatment Programs

Beating the Blues before Birth (BBB)

During the program women learn coping strategies to help manage their mood and deal with stressors often experienced during the antenatal period.

In our previous pilot studies, the Beating the Blues before Birth program has been shown effective in reducing levels of depression and anxiety and improving infant outcomes at 9 and 24 months. To read about the current BBB trial click here.


Specialist Mother-Infant Programs

PIRI has developed a number of programs that specifically focus on enhancing the mother-infant relationship including Baby HUGS, Community HUGS and Intuitive Mothering.

BabyHUGS is the most well established of our mother-infant relationship programs, and was designed to be implemented following treatment of maternal depression. BabyHUGS consists of 4 interactive sessions which assist mothers to become more attuned and fully engaged with their infant.
Early results have shown that women who completed the BabyHUGS experienced a rapid decline in parenting stress. The program is currently being further evaluated as part of a larger study.

CommunityHUGS is a 10 session playgroup designed to be delivered in a community setting and incorporates aspects of BabyHUGS, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), attachment theory and the Intuitive Mothering program. Results to date have shown that mothers taking part in the CommunityHUGS program showed improvement in their interaction, as well as maternal anxiety, depression and stress.

Intuitive Mothering is an innovative 8-week program that uses natural movement, holding patterns and imaginative play that occurs between mother and infant. It incorporates music, movement and dance, as well as discussion with mothers about what they noticed in their baby’s play.

For further information about any of PIRI’s programs please contact us on: (03) 9496-4496 or at piri@austin.org.au

Having a Premature Baby

For Premmies


PremieStart is a specific program for parents who have had a premature baby. The program teaches new parents important information about preterm infant behavioural responses, how to protect infants from stress whilst still in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and encourages sensitive involvement from the earliest point. Results to date have shown that the PremieStart program improves parent-infant interactions and aids early developmental milestones.

Premiepress Magazine

This twice yearly magazine is written to give parents the knowledge about prematurity issues known to the experts. It also contains parent’s stories, which are helpful to those who are trying to deal with all the personal and medical issues that can arise. For more information or to download a sample copy, click here.