Deputy Premier John Barilaro joined Local Member for Bathurst Paul Toole and local Chezzi Denyer, host and creator of Mummy Time Co to announce free specialist perinatal psychological counselling via video call for parents in the Central West, and right across NSW who are affected by perinatal depression and anxiety (PNDA).
Mr Barilaro last week attended the official launch of Gidget Foundation Australia’s Start Talking program in Sydney and announced $270,000 in NSW Government funding to support the initiative.
Mr Barilaro said Perinatal Depression and Anxiety (PNDA) is a condition commonly experienced by women during pregnancy and the year following the birth of a baby. New fathers are also vulnerable to PNDA.
“Many parents are unaware of the risk of developing Perinatal Depression and Anxiety, so it is reassuring there are psychological counselling services available, if required, no matter where you live.”
Mr Toole said it can be difficult to access mental health support services when living in remote and regional areas and the NSW Government is committed to changing that.
“Families in remote areas don’t always have the same access to mental health services as those in the cities, and that is why the Start Talking program is so important - to assist parents living in regional areas like the Central West who may be in need of psychological support.
“Parents across the entire Central West will now have access to specialist perinatal and infant mental health services, via video call,” Mr Toole said.
Local Ambassador and host of Mummy Time Co, Chezzi Denyer said it was great to see the recognition and need for these services to be provided to all parents, no matter where they are located.
“I know that being a parent is tough. Those first few hours, days, weeks and months can all roll into one big blur. We wonder if it’s ‘normal’ to feel like this, or in fact, what ‘normal’ is meant to feel like as a new parent. As well as a wonderful time in your life, it can also be a terrifying one,” said Mrs Denyer.
“Along with a fantastic (and growing) community of mum’s, I’m leaning on the experience of thousands of women to start lending their support to programs like the Gidget Foundations Start Talking as well as raising awareness of the services provided by other organisation like PANDA (Perinatal, Anxiety and Depression Australia).
“Across Australia up to one in five new mums and one in 10 new dads may experience symptoms of PNDA – which is almost 100,000 expectant and new parents each year.
“The availability of these services is one thing, ensuring our families are aware of them and know how to access them is another. In addition to fundraising for causes like these, I’m on a mission to ensure no new parent feels alone, that they know there is help and a huge community of people who’ve been exactly where they are,” said Mrs Denyer.
Mr Barilaro said he was delighted the NSW Government could assist the Gidget Foundation to deliver improved mental health services throughout regional NSW.
“Parents who are living in regional NSW and experiencing symptoms of PNDA will no longer have to experience the inconvenience, time and expense of travelling long distances to access the support they need.
The NSW Government funding will help facilitate up to seven one-hour video call sessions per client with a trained psychologist, as part of the client’s GP-referred Mental Health Plan.
This program will give parents across the state access to psychological support when they need it most and could prevent more serious mental health issues requiring specialist perinatal and infant mental health services.
‘Gidget’ was the nickname of a young mother who took her own life while suffering from unrecognised postnatal depression. Family and friends established the Gidget Foundation in 2001, which has grown to assist thousands of expectant parents and their families each year.
If you or someone you know needs crisis support please call Lifeline 13 11 14 or MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78. For mental health services visit your GP or phone the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.