Perinatal Mental HealthLocations:
Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) at Mercy Hospital for Women (MHW) provides for the mental health care needs of women who are receiving their maternity care at MHW.
Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) at Mercy Hospital for Women (MHW) is an outpatient service available to all women who receive maternity care at Mercy Hospital for Women in Heidelberg.
We also provide a consultation-liaison service to inpatients of the hospital who are receiving care. Our service does not have inpatient facilities, but if you require inpatient psychiatric care (an extended stay on site while you receive mental health care), we can arrange a referral for you to an inpatient unit.
Find us at:
163 Studley Road
Heidelberg Victoria 3084
Outpatient appointments are held at Mercy Hospital for Women, Level 3
The consultation-liaison service to MHW inpatients operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Perinatal Mental Health(PMH) at Mercy Hospital for Women (MHW) provides:
An outpatient service to women who:
– are receiving their maternity care at the Mercy Hospital for Women
– have delivered their baby at Mercy Hospital for Women in the preceding 12 months
– have a newborn baby or child receiving care through the department of paediatrics
– are planning a delivery at Mercy Hospital for Women and require a preconception assessment/opinion.
It is a specialist service but not an acute care service for the community.
The service provides specific liaison attachments to:
Department of Perinatal Medicine. see: https://mercyperinatal.com.au/
Department of Paediatrics
Transitions clinic for women with chemical use/dependency in pregnancy
Aboriginal women and women from the Torres Strait Islands.
Women can be referred by their general practitioner (GP), community mental health care provider or from their antenatal clinic.
Written referrals can be faxed to 03 8458 4205
Telephone enquiries can be made by calling 03 8458 4843
There is a consultation-liaison service to inpatients of MHW. Women who are current inpatients of MHW who have a mental health disorder or are suffering from psychological distress can be referred by their treating team to the PMH service for consultation.
Referrals are made by paging the PMH services psychiatry registrars via switchboard or by leaving a message on extension 4843. PMH staff are rostered to cover the wards during business hours. After hours there is an on-call psychiatrist available to the wards from our PMH team, who can be contacted via the hospital switchboard.
The service takes an active role in education within the hospital and to community health providers in the specialty of perinatal mental health.
Please direct enquiries to Dr Gaynor Blankley.
Phone 03 8458 4946.
What to do before
You might find it helpful to talk to your partner, a family member or close friend prior to your appointment, to discuss how you are feeling and ask them to attend the appointment with you.
The hospital is located across the road from Heidelberg Railway Station which also has multiple bus routes running to it. There is limited undercover parking at the hospital which is charged at an hourly rate, as well as limited local street parking. Allow a total of two hours parking time for your first appointment and 60–90 minutes for follow-up appointments.
Let us know if you are unable to make your scheduled appointment by phoning 03 8458 4141.
Write down and bring any questions you might want answered.
What to bring
If you have them, it is helpful if you bring any letters about your past and current mental health care, as well as a list of all your past and current medications.
Also, please bring the contact details of your general practitioner (GP) and any mental health clinician you are currently receiving care from.
What to expect on the day
On the day of your appointment, come to Mercy Hospital for Women, Level 3.
You can access this level from lifts in the car park or on the ground floor (labelled Level 1 in the lifts) of the hospital. Turn right when you exit the lift and come around to the counter on the left side of the large waiting area. Let an administrative staff member know that you have arrived. They will check your name, address and date of birth and encourage you to take a seat.
The waiting area is shared by all patients attending outpatients and is often crowded and busy. Please let our administration receptionist know if you are experiencing difficulties in the waiting area. We will do our best to respond to your needs.
Appointments usually run close to time, although from time to time your treating clinician may be called to an emergency and be late.
At your first appointment:
- you will have an hour allocated
- one of our experienced clinicians will meet you and assess your mental health needs. Whenever possible, we aim to provide continuity of care across the course of your treatment by our service: this means that usually the clinician who sees you for your first appointment will continue your ongoing care
At the end of your appointment the clinician will discuss their recommendations for your ongoing care, including any investigations that are recommended and any referrals to other specialists or support services
Follow-up appointments will have 30 minutes allocated to them.
Our clinic is staffed by experienced psychiatrists, psychiatry registrars (doctors studying to specialise in psychiatry) and psychologists. Sometimes we also have medical students, psychology students or visiting specialists from overseas, either working alongside us or observing our work.
What questions should you ask
By the end of the first appointment, your clinician will provide you with feedback about what they think would be the most helpful course to take going forwards. We aim to work collaboratively with you and discuss all the options available for your ongoing care.
You may want to ask questions including:
- What do you think is my diagnosis?
- What are the alternatives to your recommendations?
- What are the risks of your recommendations?
- What are the risks of not following your recommendations and what are alternative treatment options?
- Where can I find more information?
- What other supports are available to me?
- Will you let my GP or current healthcare provider know about our appointment and your recommendations?
When you and your treating clinician make the decision that it is time to be discharged from our service, your clinician will discuss their recommendations for your ongoing care with you. This may include referring you back to the care of your GP or to another service if you require ongoing mental health care.
Following your appointment we will call and/or write to your GP, current mental health care provider, and any other healthcare provider that you nominate as being involved in your care.
Following discussion with you, we will arrange referral to any other support agencies relevant to your care, either within the hospital. e.g. our social work department, or outside the hospital.
Opportunities to be involved in research
Please ask your treating clinician about any current research projects you can participate in.
Who to call if you have concerns afterwards
If you need to contact your treating clinician following your appointment, please phone 03 8458 4843 and leave a voicemail message. This number is checked regularly throughout business hours and calls will be returned as soon as possible.
For urgent matters out of business hours, you should contact your GP or your nearest general hospital’s emergency department.
For health professionals
The Department of Perinatal Mental Health at Mercy Hospital for Women includes an outpatient clinic and a consultation-liaison service for inpatients. The service covers all aspects of perinatal mental health from pre-conception, across pregnancy and through the postnatal period.
The focus of the service is treating women and their infants and, where possible, including their partner and/or the father of their baby. Our department is staffed by psychiatrists who have specialised in perinatal mental health, psychiatry registrars who are sub-specialising in perinatal mental health and psychologists. Wherever possible, we liaise closely with each woman’s GP, community mental health care provider, obstetrician and maternal and child health nurse.
Women who are receiving/have received their maternity care at Mercy Hospital for Women can be referred to the service. The service can be called on 03 8458 4843 to discuss a possible referral and a referral can be faxed to 03 8458 4205.
Patients are prioritised according to the information on the referral. Most women are offered an appointment within three weeks of their referral. Women who require an assessment as soon as possible are usually seen within five to seven days.
How to prepare the patient
Discuss with your patient your concerns for their mental health and why you recommend a referral.
Ensure your patient is consenting to a referral and fax a written referral to Mercy Hospital for Women’s central referral line at 03 8458 4205
Phone our service if the referral is of high priority. This allows us to prioritise your patient’s initial appointment, or assist you with access to appropriate interim services.
Let your patient know about this web page so they can prepare for the appointment themselves.
Provide your patient with details of how to access urgent mental health care if their circumstances change and they are unable to wait for their appointment.
What/when you should refer to us
- have a past history of psychiatric illness who are at risk of relapse in the perinatal period or where the management of their illness requires specialised management in the perinatal period
- are receiving their maternity care at Mercy Hospital for Women who are experiencing psychological difficulties in pregnancy
- are experiencing psychological difficulties as a result of past traumatic experiences during pregnancy and childbirth
- are experiencing psychological difficulties in the postnatal period who have delivered their baby at Mercy Hospital for Women
- require pre-pregnancy consultation as they have a pre-existing mental illness.
What/when you should not refer to us
Women requiring an urgent psychiatric assessment should be referred to their Area Mental Health Service acute intake.
Additional contact details
Head of Unit and Psychiatrist Dr Gaynor Blankley. Phone: 03 8458 4946.
Resources for you
The International Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health is an international organisation devoted to the ongoing understanding of perinatal mental health.
The Australian branch can be found at:
Mercy Hospital for Women
163 Studley Road
Heidelberg Victoria 3084
Donate to the Mercy Health Foundation
The Mercy Health Foundation supports programs to improve the health and wellbeing of those in need. Your donation makes a difference in hospitals, nurseries, aged care homes, and the general community.
Translating and interpreting services
Learn how to contact our services through a telephone interpreter if you have difficulty communicating in English.