#34 – Perinatal Mental Health with Dr Nicole Highet

Dr Nicole Highet is a clinical psychologist and the Founder & Executive Director at COPE: Centre of Perinatal Excellence.  Previously Nicole worked at Beyond Blue as the Deputy CEO and National Perinatal Advisor.

Nicole has a Doctorate in clinical psychology specialising in community approaches to treating postnatal depression.  After her training she moved from Perth to Melbourne, and detoured into the world of marketing and advertising.

The combination of her clinical and marketing skills ended up being the perfect stepping stone for her to join Beyond Blue in 2001, just after the Initiative began. Beyond Blue is an Australian, independent non-profit organisation working to address issues associated with depression, anxiety and related mental disorders.  Nicole worked with beyond Blue fore 12 years.

One of her most passionate endeavours at Beyond Blue was the success of the National Perinatal Depression Initiative.  In response to this issue and the need for a dedicated focus in perinatal mental health, Nicole established COPE, Centre of Perinatal Excellence.

The focus of COPE is to increase awareness, reduce stigma and support health professionals by equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to provide timely and effective care for women and their families. COPE is also working with others to deploy the latest digital technologies to improve screening efficiencies, research and outcomes to inform consumers, health professional and policy makers.  In this episode we discuss iCOPE – an interactive, digital screening platform that facilitates efficient and effective screening in the perinatal period (during pregnancy and year following birth).

Nicole's passion is contagious, and she encourages us to think big picture and follow our passions!

Recommended Resources

Nicole's best self-care tip

  • Do what you love!!  This is the most important thing.  You spend more time working than you do doing anything else, other than sleeping, so your quality of life is determined by doing something that you care about or something you're interested in!


Leave me or Nicole a comment or some feedback about this episode in the comments section. I’ll respond to everyone!

Amy Felman


  1. Rhiannon on April 30, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Hi ,
    I loved this podcast!
    I’m currently studying my Masters of Science in the Health Psychology endorsement program in NZ (However, I’m an ex-Murdoch student, so was exciting to hear Murdoch being named).
    I’m hoping to eventually go on to specialize in perinatal mental health and am in the stages of writing my research proposal for my thesis which will be (hopefully) centered around adolescent mothers and breastfeeding.
    At the moment, however, I am currently completing my practicum requirements and am working towards putting together a research report for the government organization I am working alongside. Specifically looking at how in infant wellness checks, when it comes to checking the mothers mental well being the current strategies in place aren’t effective for detecting postpartum depression/anxiety and don’t offer mothers the safety to express such concerns. I was really interested in the studies and statistics you used in this podcast and was wondering if there was somewhere I would be able to find these ?

    • Amy Felman on September 18, 2018 at 8:06 pm

      Hi Rhiannon,

      Apologies for such a late response. Best way to find out any info in this space is to contact Nicole Highet at Centre of Perinatal Excellence – COPE.
      Glad you enjoyed this episode!

Leave a Comment