Continuing project on perinatal mental health

November 3, 2022

Healthy Minds - Support new parents and their infants 

Since April 2022, we have been working on a continuing research project Healthy Minds on perinatal mental health in Tyrol. We are providing here project information and resources for parents and families seeking information and support on infant and child mental health.

Perinatal mental illness (PMI)

Becoming a parent is commonly perceived as the happiest time in one’s life. However, many new parents struggle during this period with mental health issues. Research shows that approximately one in five mothers and about one in ten fathers experience depression during this time of change. Apart from the impact on the affected individuals themselves, it is known that mental illness in parents during this period can significantly affect child development. In addition to the effects on the health and quality of life of those affected and their families, perinatal mental illnesses also result in extensive economic costs. In Austria, existing prevention and support structures vary widely from region to region. In Tyrol, based on workshops with stakeholders including people with lived experience, there is a lack of awareness among the public but also among health professionals, a lack of screening and prevention activities and also limited coordination of services, as well as concrete gaps in services offering treatment.

About the research team

Our international and interdisciplinary research team includes researchers from a range of disciplines, including social sciences, psychology, health economics, health services research, applied linguistics, implementation science, and psychiatry. This will be a partnership between local stakeholders, drawing from international knowledge of best-practice, and together designing, implementing, evaluating, and sustaining a strengthened support offer for new parents and their infants experiencing perinatal mental illness.


About the research project

The research group examines the situation for new parents in Tyrol and aims to support an early intervention and prevention approach to respond to PMI. 

The project plan is to: 

  1. Examine the situation in Tyrol for perinatal mental health support/services
  2. Co-design support services that focus on parent and infant need, strengthening social support and collaborative services
  3. Implement the design of the intervention to be sustainable, feasible, and acceptable
  4. Evaluate the impact, views, and experiences of the intervention


Connecting research and practice

The project runs for a period of 5 years and is working with open innovation science (OIS) approaches to engage the Tyrolean public. The group will work with stakeholders to determine the most appropriate study design and to co-design evidence-based practice approaches. This social innovation project connects the local knowledge of systems, healthcare, social care, along with international expertise in co-design, complex evaluations and social services research to address an issue of true local importance within society. Moreover, this project is focusing on an early intervention and prevention approach to bring together formal and informal services working with new parents and infants and consider the ways in which supports can be enhanced to increase parent-infant quality of life.


Time schedule

April 2022 to March 2023:

  • (Systematic) literature reviews to identify key elements for the Tyrolean support approach
  • Mapping of services and epidemiological situation in Austria and Tyrol
  • Analysis of administrative data on the uptake of psychiatric services before and during pregnancy as well as 1 year after birth

April 2023 to March 2024:

  • Stakeholder workshops to co-design the support approach in Tyrol
  • Preparing implementation and evaluation
  • Training of practitioners (if required)

April 2024 to March 2027:

  • Implementation (piloting) and evaluation



Research Project Healthy Minds 
c/o MedUni Innsbruck, Tirol Kliniken GmbH
Schöpfstraße 23a
6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Project lead: Dr. Jean Paul




Ressources for self-help and information