Report shows 'far-reaching effects' of 'baby blues'

DEPRESSION stemming from the births of children this year could cost the nation nearly $500 million before the babies turn two, new research revealed on Monday.

The Pricewaterhouse Coopers research was funded by beyondblue and looks into the economic effects of perinatal depression.

It showed the current rates of perinatal depression among the parents of about 290,000 Australian children born this year, would lead to costs about $496 million in the next two years.

beyondblue Advisor to the National Perinatal Depression Initiative Dr Nicole Highet said the report showed the huge costs and "far-reaching effects" of perinatal depression and anxiety.

"While the debilitating personal impact of these conditions on mothers is becoming more widely acknowledged, the broader social and economic costs are rarely recognised," she said.

"If the number of women affected by perinatal depression and anxiety was reduced by just 5%, this would reduce the cost to the economy by $136 million.

"This is why it is so important to promote early detection of these conditions through education and routine screening in pregnancy and after the baby's birth."

More than just the 'baby blues', perinatal depression was defined as long term depression of anxiety that does not go away without professional help.

The report found the costs included lost time off work, hospital bills and lost productivity in men and women experiencing perinatal depression totalled $496 million in the two years after birth.

People in need of help can call beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

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