Boost for bereaved parents' mental health as a result of the stillbirth roundtable
Last week our CEO, Jackie Mead, was in Parliament House in Canberra attending the Reducing Stillbirth National Roundtable, telling Government how crucial it is that bereaved parents remain at the centre of a national action plan for stillbirth.
As part of the roundtable Health Minister Greg Hunt announced funding of $26 million to better protect the mental health of expecting and new parents, which will be available as grants to mental health and parent support organisations such as Sands to develop and deliver programs that bolster the mental health of parents, including bereaved parents.
This funding will improve the range of services available to support the mental health and wellbeing of women and families affected by perinatal mental illness, or who are experiencing grief after the death of a child, including culturally appropriate support and information for families who've experienced stillbirth.
This is wonderful news for bereaved parents because this funding will allow services like Sands to provide further support to more of the 1700 families whose babies will be stillborn before 2019 is through as well as the many thousands who've already experienced the tragedy of going home from the hospital without their baby.
We are very grateful for the feedback received from our community during January through the survey we ran on social media about the Senate recommendations. We asked you for your thoughts on a range of topics related to the Committee's recommendations, the results of which really helped inform our discussions with Government. Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate at what is a crucial time for stillbirth research and education in Australia.
All you need is love
This February we invite you to participate in a special act of love for your baby, or a bereaved parent you know, by naming a special Valentine’s recipe in their honour.
This gift is one that will truly keep on giving as all money raised through the sale of our chocolate shortbread heart cookie recipes will help Sands deliver our peer support services to parents who are grieving the loss of a much-wanted pregnancy or dearly loved baby.
Each day our volunteers perform countless small but mighty acts of love to ensure each bereaved parent who comes to Sands is met with empathy and understanding. Your small act today will help a fellow mum or dad know they are not alone.
With your donation of $25 or more during February you’ll receive our beautiful Valentine’s Day recipe keepsake by email to print or distribute as you wish.
Visit https://sands-australia.giveeasy.org/stir-in-the-love-this-valentines-day to receive your personalised recipe.
Valentine's Day recipes are available until Thursday 28 February. Don't miss out!
Training opportunity for new volunteer parent supporters
Are you based in Brisbane or Melbourne and interested in becoming a Sands volunteer parent supporter? We have upcoming training sessions in both locations for new volunteers interested in providing phone support and/or facilitating local support groups.
Our volunteer parent supporters are the lifeblood of Sands. They provide crucial one-on-one and group support to other bereaved parents who reach out to talk to someone who understands what they are going through.
What does it take to become a parent supporter? There's no magic formula or qualification, but rather we're looking for a unique set of qualities (empathy, compassion) combined with lived experience to ensure that our services are available 24/7 to those who need them.
If you think you've got what we are looking for, or know someone who does, we would love to hear from you https://www.sands.org.au/get-involved/volunteers
Support & information at your fingertips
Whether you're a bereaved parent, family member or friend, or medical professional, you'll find information on Sands' support services at www.sands.org.au/find-support. On our website you'll also find parent stories, information about grief and downloadable fact sheets on a range of topics.
Meet our National Manager - Community Engagement
Kate Cowmeadow is Sands' new National Manager of Community Engagement.
"The Community Engagement team’s role is all about the places, spaces and ways the Sands community comes together, and how we connect with others who are involved in caring for bereaved parents," Kate says.
"We have team members based in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. One of the great things about working as a national team is the potential to share resources around key events like our Walks to Remember."
"Another important focus for our team is working with health professionals to help ensure newly bereaved parents receive supportive care at the time their baby dies."
"We, of course, couldn’t do any of this without our beautiful volunteers. I am very excited to be getting to know more of our community this year."
Join us at your local Sands support group in 2019
Our local face-to-face support meetings have kicked off for 2019 and our facilitators look forward to welcoming new and existing bereaved parents for a coffee and a chat in QLD, SA, WA & VIC this month. Our support meetings are friendly, informal and welcoming of all families who've experienced the loss of a pregnancy or death of a baby. Attending one of our meetings is a great opportunity to meet with others who've been through similar experiences, to make new friends, and to find understanding, guidance and support. Find your local group's meeting times/locations on our website: https://www.sands.org.au/local-group-support
Sands in the news
• The Age recently spoke to our CEO, Jackie Mead & Ami Summers, creator of Heart Space: a workbook for parents who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth or the loss of a child about ways of helping bereaved parents work through their grief https://bit.ly/2WAOo97
• Our Victorian State Manager, Margaret Polacska, was interviewed on ABC Radio in Melbourne in the leadup to the National Stillbirth Roundtable
• Sands welcomed Health Minister Greg Hunt's $26 million funding announcement which will result in expanded perinatal mental health services for bereaved parents.