Kareena Private Hospital has launched a post-natal community support service for new parents, to provide them with a helping hand after having a baby.
On August 9 the hospital welcomed its latest offering available to mums and dads, so that they can feel more supported in their mental health.
The crucial period of support is between three to 12 months of giving birth - the stage where commonly a woman, or man's, perinatal depression and anxiety (PNDA) can be most prevalent.
Kareena's free GP-referred specialist perinatal counselling sessions are offered through the new Gidget House at the hospital.
The Gidget Foundation Australia is a non-profit organisation that supports the emotional wellbeing of expectant and new parents to ensure they receive timely, appropriate and specialist care.
This will be the seventh Gidget House in Sydney and 19th in NSW. State Minister for Mental Health Rose Jackson opened the facility at Kareena.
"Providing mental health support in the community is a top priority for the NSW Government. Becoming a parent can be difficult for numerous reasons, and we must ensure those experiencing perinatal depression and anxiety have access to a quality healthcare options like Gidget Foundation Australia," she said.
Rebecca McMartin was at the launch to share her experiences of antenatal anxiety. After having panic attacks during her c-section, she sought help from Gidget's psychologists.
"I wasn't expecting to go through it but I reached out when I mentioned how I was feeling to my obstetrician," she said. "If I had a bad day or week, I felt better knowing I had an appointment coming up. I addressed it before it got severe so there was someone to catch me.
"There is a guarantee someone will go through something worse that you but it doesn't mean you don't deserve support, or that you need a diagnosis or your struggles are any less valid. It's the most vulnerable time of a women's life. But I felt I wasn't going home alone."
Kareena's Chief Executive Stephen Wigmore, said it was an exciting partnership to offer vital care to Sutherland Shire families.
"We continue an established relationships between the foundation and Ramsay Health Care. Statistics suggests something like 20 per cent, roughly one in five parents coming through, may experience perinatal depression and anxiety. To give it context, we do about 700 births a year and that's 140 give or take mums potentially coming through - that's a real concern," he said.
"It speaks to the importance of having timely, local access and it's fabulous that we don't have to ask our patients to move to Randwick or other locations to access. It's a community service so I would expect parents whether they're across the road at Sutherland Hospital or further afield at St George or Hurstville, irrespective of where you might have your baby, you've got that service here if you need it.
"It's so impactful when you hear first-hand the benefit and what a change it has made. For people like Rebecca, she was incredibly brave to get up there and bare her soul."
Gidget Foundation Australia Chief Executive Arabella Gibson, said parenthood could bring unexpected challenges for parents. "At Gidget, we value active and open conversations. We hope that the more we talk about it, the more parents feel comfortable enough to reach out for help and support if they are struggling to adjust to parenting," she said. "With [also] one in ten new dads experiencing perinatal anxiety and depression, we know that getting help can be a lifesaver."
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