PANDA National Helpline (Mon to Fri, 9am - 7.30pm AEST/AEDT) 1300 726 306

HomeArticlesMaking effective referrals

Making effective referrals

Strategies and resources to help you address your clients’ barriers to disclosure and help-seeking. ​

Anxiety and depression affect up to one in five women and one in ten men in the perinatal period. Many struggle for weeks or months before seeking help, while others never get treatment.

Even after a health professional has identified an issue and offered referrals, many people still don’t get the support they need. How does this happen, and what can you do to help?

Barriers to help seeking

The barriers to new and expecting parents getting mental health support are varied. Some barriers are internal, while others are external, including those that arise from limitations within the health system or in health professional practices.

“My family noticed that things didn’t seem right, a, but I was too afraid that if I told anyone my horrible scary thoughts they would take my daughter away.”

On the PANDA National Helpline, callers often disclose feelings of shame, self-blame and fear of judgement or child removal. Others have little understanding of mental illness, treatment options or the health system. For some, cultural or family attitudes towards mental health and help-seeking can be a barrier.

“'It looks like you’ve got a bit of postnatal depression,’ the nurse said. ‘You should probably go and see someone.’ And that was it. No suggestion of who to see or talk to, no follow up, no further discussion. I was too tired and overwhelmed to do anything about it and I didn’t tell anyone.”


Mental health screening works best when there are clear pathways for management, treatment and follow-up (Milgrom & Gemmill, 2014). However, practice in following up screening results or other mental health disclosures varies widely.

The information below will provide strategies and practical tools to help you make effective referrals and ensure vulnerable clients get the help they need.

Helpful Information

Encouraging disclosure of perinatal anxiety and depression
Read More

Practical tools to help you make effective referrals

1

Psycho-education

2

Supporting choice

3

Addressing barriers

4

Coaching to support referral

5

Follow up and share information

6

Referring to PANDA

Downloads

Making effective referrals: Health professional tip sheet
Download PDF
Mental health checklist

How are you going?

Everyone’s experience of pregnancy, birth and parenting is unique and brings different rewards and challenges. Our mental health checklist can help you to see if what you’re experiencing or observing in a loved one could be reason to seek help.

Checklist for

Expecting Mums
Expecting Dads and Non-birth Parents
New Mums
New Dads and Non-birth Parents
Partners and Carers

Related Articles

all articles

Was this page helpful?

Please Tell us more

PANDA acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land where we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.

Stay in the loop

Stay up to date by subscribing to PANDA's e-newsletter. Containing personal stories, research, inspiration and more.

Get support
Expecting a babyNew ParentsGrowing FamiliesDadsLanguages other than English
Registered-charity-logoNSMHS-logo

While PANDA has exercised due care in ensuring the accuracy of the material contained on this website, the information is made available on the basis that PANDA is not providing professional advice on a particular matter. This website is not a substitute for independent professional advice. Nothing contained in this website is intended to be used as medical advice, nor should it be used as a substitute for your own health professional's advice.

Privacy policyTerms & Conditions
Structured Content powered by Sanity.io
© PANDA 2022
Structured Content powered by Sanity.io
Quick Exit Site