Families urged to seek perinatal mental health support

It’s been a year since the $100,000 partnership forged between Blooms The Chemist and Gidget Foundation Australia, and the pharmacy group reports an increasing number of new and expectant parents reaching out for help to manage perinatal depression and anxiety. 

These increasing figures have reportedly been seen especially during the unique and sustained challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic brought to parenting.

Latest research by Gidget Foundation Australia, which supports the emotional wellbeing of expectant and new parents, reveals a staggering 90% of parents say their level of worry or concern has increased since Covid-19 started (a 9% increase on 2020 data).

The research shows more than half (54%) of parents report their biggest concern is experiencing increased anxiety and depression.

Since March 2020, Gidget Foundation Australia has reportedly experienced a 127% surge in demand for free psychological counselling services.

As part of Blooms The Chemist’s dedicated mental health support services and Healthy Mind Check-ups, its relationship with Gidget Foundation Australia has been an important channel in the community for women and men to connect to a health professional.

Blooms The Chemist’s $100,000 donation enables Gidget Foundation Australia to deliver more than 1000 telehealth counselling session for regional or remote families each year, a service that was especially crucial during the height of Covid-19 when parents may not have been able to access certain health professionals due to strict restrictions and long wait lists.

Pharmacist-Owner Alyce Heffernan and her partner, who own two Blooms The Chemist pharmacies in Albury NSW, understand first-hand the impact of becoming new parents with a three-year old and another child due very soon.

Their pharmacies provide a safe place for parents to start that difficult conversation, while also providing education on valuable resources and other forms of help that they may not be aware of. 

“We’re here to do what we can to support new and expectant mums and dads, as many are naturally nervous about this new chapter in their lives. Most mums just want reassurance that they are doing the right thing,” says Ms Heffernan.

“It’s also really good for them to see I am heavily pregnant myself – they tend to feel more comfortable speaking with me, given I’m going through a similar experience.”

Ms Heffernan adds that their desire is to “make sure that new parents have a good support network”.

CEO of Gidget Foundation Australia, Arabella Gibson says that all parenting journeys look different with each person’s experience being individual and unique.

“Perinatal mental health does not discriminate and the reasons behind its prevalence are not always clear cut or easily explained,” she says.

“It’s important to acknowledge that it doesn’t matter why you are feeling this way, just that you are not alone, and you can and will get through it with the right supports.”

Perinatal Mental Health Week 

This Perinatal Mental Health Week (7-13 November) is a reminder of the figures that show nearly 1 in 5 mothers, and 1 in 10 fathers will experience perinatal depression and anxiety.

Reportedly, this growing issue affects approximately 100,000 Australians each year.

For more information on Blooms The Chemist’s partnership with Gidget Foundation Australia, visit: bloomsthechemist.com.au/gidget-foundation

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