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Observational study
Sixteen per cent of mothers who present their young infants to the emergency department with non-time-critical conditions screen positive for postnatal depression
  1. Catherine McMahon
  1. Centre for Emotional Health, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, North Ryde, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to: Catherine McMahon
    Centre for Emotional Health, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Balaclava Road, North Ryde 2109, New South Wales, Australia; cathy.mcmahon{at}

Statistics from

Commentary on: Stock A, Chin L, Babl FE, et al. Postnatal depression in mothers bringing infants to the emergency department. Arch Dis Child 2013;98:36–40.

Implications for practice and research

  • Maternal mental health should be routinely assessed in paediatric settings where the presenting problem is the infant.

  • The emergency department (ED) setting is an opportune place for the identification of postnatal depression (PND) and referral for support.

  • Study findings should be replicated in other ED settings, with more socioeconomically diverse samples and confirmed through the use of diagnostic interviews.


PND is a common mental health problem with community prevalence estimates internationally ranging between 8% and 20%.1 A large body of research demonstrates ongoing adverse impacts on the mother, her family and the developing infant. In recent years, the …

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