STePPS CRE Annual Showcase

Thursday 21 March 2024

STePPS CRE Makes Significant Strides in Advancing Digital Perinatal Mental Health Support

The Parent-Infant Research Institute (PIRI), leading the STePPS CRE (Science Translation for e-Psychological Perinatal Supports), hosted a groundbreaking event in perinatal mental health research on March 21st, 2024. The STePPS CRE Annual Showcase and Workshops brought together over 60 leading researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and stakeholders to share in a vision for advancements in digital mental health support for expecting and new parents. This crucial event fostered collaboration and innovation to address the critical need for accessible and effective mental health resources during the perinatal period.

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Showcase Highlights

The STePPS CRE Annual Showcase served as a landmark event in perinatal mental health research. Over 60 leading researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and stakeholders came together, highlighting the collective effort to improve mental health support for expecting and new parents. The theme, “Expanding Horizons in e-Perinatal Support,” underscored the event’s focus on leveraging digital technologies to deliver innovative solutions and urged inclusivity in research and service delivery.

Ms. Julie Bignell

Ms. Julie Bignell

The Hon Ged Kearney MP

The Hon Ged Kearney MP
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The Hon Ingrid Stitt MP

The Hon Ingrid Stitt MP
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The Showcase featured insightful presentations, discussions, and keynote addresses from renowned figures in the field. Ms. Julie Bignell (Austin Health Board Director), provided a warm welcome, setting the stage for impactful dialogue. The importance of prioritising perinatal mental health initiatives was further emphasised by video messages from The Hon Ged Kearney MP (Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care) and The Hon Ingrid Stitt MP (Minister for Mental Health, Victoria).

Professor Jeannette Milgrom AM

An opening address, The Future of e-Psychological Interventions for Perinatal Mental Health, by Professor Jeannette Milgrom AM (PIRI) highlighted the breadth of the vision of the CRE from generating new knowledge and interventions to fostering future leaders and implementing digital services within an integrated perinatal mental health system.

Marley Berger

Marley Berger, a lived experience partner, offered a valuable personal perspective, enriching the discussions with the realities of perinatal mental health challenges.

STePPS CRE Showcase Gallery

Following an introduction to our keynote speaker Professor Pim Cuijpers a captivating panel session with Q&A involved the STePPS Investigators who subsequently met over two days to plan directions for 2024 and concluded the successful Showcase.

Robert Winther

Our thanks to Austin Health for hosting the STePPS CRE Annual Showcase and the engaging welcome extended by Veteran Liaison Officer, Robert Winther. Situated on the historic Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital site, also the home of PIRI, it was an inspiring backdrop for our discussions. The venue holds profound significance, symbolising a legacy of care and service to our veterans and a recognition of the importance of family, further emphasising our commitment to advancing digital perinatal mental health support to all new parents.

STePPS CRE Workshops

Charting the Course

Following the insightful Showcase, the STePPS CRE Investigator team participated in two days of intensive strategy workshops. These workshops provided a dedicated space for in-depth exploration of various research streams within the STePPS CRE. Key areas of focus included perinatal depression in mothers and their partners and the critical role of very early intervention for infants, related disorders such as anxiety and trauma, and effective support systems for families. Generating new knowledge through use of global databases and the potential to identify families at risk with biopsychosocial approaches led to a suite of new proposals. Integrated service delivery and the potential of digital tools to maximise effectiveness by working hand in hand with traditional services was discussed with a consideration of health economic analyses.

The workshops fostered a collaborative environment, encouraging brainstorming and knowledge exchange among investigators and early career researchers. Lived experience considerations and the needs of diverse and Indigenous communities remained a central focus, ensuring that future interventions are inclusive and accessible to all.

Showcase Gallery

Looking Forward

The STePPS CRE Annual Showcase and Workshops culminated in a spirit of collaboration, with valuable insights and strategies to drive impactful change in perinatal mental health support. The collective efforts of researchers, policymakers, and stakeholders centered around evidence-based e-solutions, workforce development, and building a more responsive and sustainable mental health system for mothers, infants, and families.

The STePPS CRE is committed to translating their research findings into accessible and effective e-mental health interventions. This dedication paves the way for a future where expecting and new parents can access critical support through user-friendly digital platforms. By leveraging the potential of technology, the STePPS CRE envisions a future where perinatal mental health care is accessible and effective for all families.

Recordings from Keynote Speaker and Early Career Researchers

Keynote Speaker: Professor Pim Cuijpers
New Generations of Treatments based on Global Research

Marketa Ciharova
Digital Psychological Treatment and Prevention of Perinatal Depression: An IPD Meta-analysis.

Associate Professor Alka Kothari
Supporting Fathers and Partners during a Traumatic Pregnancy and Childbirth: Towards holistic care.

Hsing-Fen Tu
Application of Digital Phenotyping for Predicting Peripartum Depression: an integrative approach.

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