Mother and Baby Unit referrals

The Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) is not a crisis care service therefore MBU cannot be responsible for responding to acute or crisis situations. If you require urgent acute or crisis intervention please contact the Mental Health Emergency Response Line (MHERL) on 1300 555 788 or your nearest hospital emergency department.

Referrals are accepted from any medical practitioner or health professional. Requests from the community that have not yet been assessed by a mental health professional or GP may be redirected in the first instance.

  • Access the MBU referral form via this link or call MBU for a faxed copy of the referral form.  
  • Fill out the referral form (this can be typed or hand written).
  • Once the referral form is completed return it to MBU via fax: 6458 1790 or email
  • The MBU staff will notify you within 3 days of having received the fax and will provide information about the status of the referral (i.e. eligible vs. ineligible referral).
  • If eligible, your referral will be prioritised and placed on the MBU waiting list.
  • You will also need to provide regular updates regarding the status of your client, especially when there is a change in their clinical status, to ensure that they are appropriately prioritised. This can be done by filling out the MBU Referral Update Form and attaching it to an email or fax.

Please note that MBU is not responsible for the management of the patient upon receiving the referral. However MBU will be responsible for responding appropriately to your referral by adding your patient to the waiting list or suggesting other more appropriate sources of support.

Admission criteria

Women who have one or more babies aged 12 months of age or younger and have moderate to severe mental health problems that severely impacts on or inhibits their level of functioning and/or ability to parent are eligible for referral to MBU. Moderate to severe mental illness in this sense includes an Axis I diagnosis of:

  • Psychosis
  • Bipolar Mood Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizo-Affective Disorder
  • Severe Anxiety Disorders
  • Major Depressive Disorder (including Perinatal Depression).

Women must also meet the following criteria:

1. Medical clearance from infectious disease and illness

Women and their baby/babies will only be admitted if they are medically clear from infection diseases and illness and/or are a minimum 48 hours clear of symptoms of recent illness.

2. Women experiencing drug and alcohol dependence or withdrawal are not eligible for admission

Substance abuse and alcohol use is NOT tolerated on the ward and women with substance and alcohol dependence will only be considered for admission following completion of withdrawal and detox. Women requiring admission to MBU who are experiencing drug or alcohol dependence will be required to complete a detox program prior to admission and link in with an ongoing recovery program.

3. Woman and baby/babies will be admitted to MBU together

Women are expected to bring their baby/babies under the age of 12 months to stay at MBU during the time of their admission. As MBU provides services for both the mother and baby it is unable to accommodate women without their baby/babies.

Additional referral information:

  • Mothers must be able to be cared for in an open environment
  • As their mental health improves mothers will be expected to provide care to their baby
  • Baby is to be under 12 months of age, ambulatory status may exclude admission.

Exclusion criteria

  • Mothers with solely substance use issues
  • Mothers requiring respite care
  • Mothers displaying high levels of arousal and acute behavioural disturbance
  • Mothers presenting with a high level of absconding risk.

Waiting for admission

When there are no available beds MBU will prioritise referrals with medically urgent admissions taking priority. For example: Women with severe mental health problems and who are breast feeding young baby’s are a high priority for admission.
  • Referrals will be placed on a waiting list in order of their level of priority according to the MBU Admissions Policy. The waiting list and priority ranking of referrals will be reviewed on a daily basis.
  • When a bed becomes available the highest priority referral will be contacted for admission. In this case a MBU staff member will contact the woman who has been referred and will notify the referrer via telephone or email.

Waiting time

Due to MBU’s commitment to admitting the highest priority referrals upon availability of a bed it is difficult to predict waiting times for admission and admission, therefore, cannot be guaranteed. Waiting times for admission have been anywhere between a few days to several weeks. When a bed becomes available an MBU staff member will contact you and your patient.

More information

Contact us

Tel: (08) 6458 1799
Fax: (08) 6458 1790
Freecall: 1800 422 588


11 Loretto Street
Subiaco WA 6009

Emergency contact

Mental Health Emergency Response Line (MHERL)
Metro Tel: 1300 555 788 (local call)
Peel Tel:  1800 676 822 (free call)