• antenatal;
  • depression;
  • identification;
  • postnatal;
  • pregnancy

Objectives: This paper examines the difficulties of identifying depression in the perinatal period and proposes a way forward through a ‘beyondblue’ funded program, the National Postnatal Depression Program.

Conclusions: The perinatal period offers an excellent opportunity to identify mental illness and to intervene early to prevent transgenerational problems, particularly given increased links between mental health services, general practitioners and obstetric services. Barriers to doing so include attitudes, anxiety and – most importantly – resource implications, but it is argued that without attempting to address this, identify and remedy the deficiencies, change will not occur. General pactitioners have a crucial role, as do psychiatrists, in supporting them.