Expectant and new parents experiencing perinatal depression and anxiety can now access GP-referred, free psychological counselling sessions at Gidget House Coffs Harbour.
Located at the Tresillian Family Care Centre at 68 Albany Street, Gidget House offers free counselling services by appointment and employs local psychologists.
The service was officially opened earlier this month by Deputy Premier, and Minister for Regional NSW, Industry and Trade, the Hon. John Barilaro, MP, and Minister for Mental Health, Women and Regional Youth, the Hon. Bronnie Taylor, MLC.
Mr Barilaro said Gidget House was a wonderful and valuable service for local families in Coffs Harbour and surrounds.
“Everyone’s parenting journey is different, but it is critical that young mums and dads have access to help when they need it,” Mr Barilaro said. “That is why the NSW Government has backed Gidget Foundation Australia with significant funding and I want to thank and congratulate the Foundation on the amazing work they do.”
Ms Taylor said that while babies were a blessing, when a baby arrived it could also be one of the most challenging times in a mother’s life.
“Sometimes we can forget that it can be a stressful, lonely and overwhelming time caring for a newborn,” she said. “I acknowledge the wonderful staff from the Gidget centres, they are passionate about helping families in their hour of need and I commend Gidget Foundation Australia for the work they do.”
Tresillian CEO Robert Mills said, “This program perfectly complements the work of our specialist staff at the Coffs Harbour Tresillian Family Care Centre. The service, which operates through a partnership with Mid and North Coast Local Health District, assists parents with their baby or toddler when experiencing early parenting difficulties such as an unsettled baby, breastfeeding, toddler behaviour challenges and feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.
“The presence of a Gidget psychologist will deliver practical help and support to parents living in the Coffs Harbour community and its surrounds and as a free service, will be available to all families, regardless of income.”
Gidget Foundation Australia CEO Arabella Gibson said, “Speaking about mental health issues remains really difficult among those living in regional and rural communities and hopefully Gidget House can help to break the stigma, particularly with psychologists who have local understanding.
“As a free service, it’s also going to help families who would otherwise struggle to pay for specialist psychological counselling. We are delighted to team up with Tresillian to provide comprehensive psychological counselling for new parents here in Coffs Harbour. The services on offer here will mean that so many more mums and dads will have the support they need during this vulnerable and often isolating time in their parenting journey.”
Previously known as postnatal depression, perinatal anxiety and depression during pregnancy and early parenthood (the perinatal period) affects almost 100,000 Australians each year, equating to one in five new mums and one in 10 new dads. Gidget is the nickname of a vibrant young mother from Sydney who took her own life while suffering from unrecognised postnatal depression. She hid her suffering even from her loving family and friends. They created the Gidget Foundation, determined that what happened to Gidget would not happen to others.
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