You can’t have one without the other: The case for integrated perinatal and infant mental health services
Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
School of Arts and Humanities
Perinatal and infant psychiatry has been described as ‘a specialty in search of a home’ (Newman, 2020), referring to its awkward placement between adult and child mental health services. Inherent tension comes from bringing together two distinct clinical traditions – infant mental health, with its focus on parent–child relationships and infant development, and perinatal psychiatry, with its focus on maternal mental illness in pregnancy and the postpartum. The practical challenge lies in holding the interests of parents and infants in mind as one works with a parent–child dyad. At a systems level, this can produce structurally separate services for parents and infants, resulting in the fragmentation of care for families in need.