Delay for depressed mums puts kids at risk

The Press 12 March 2008

Women diagnosed with post-natal depression are waiting up to four months for treatment – delays that experts say put babies’ safety and long-term welfare at risk. An estimated one in five New Zealand mothers suffers from post-natal depression. Experts say forcing desperate mothers to wait four months for help is alarming, and the Government and district health boards need urgently to address the problem.

Debbie Wilson, a psychiatrist at the Canterbury District Health Board’s mother and baby unit, said women were waiting up to four months for an appointment with outpatient services for their post-natal depression. Previously, women waited an average of two months, which was also unacceptably long, she said. “It’s terribly concerning. It’s really bad. We’re really worried about it.”