Health Minister Greg Hunt has today announced $26 million to better protect the mental health of expecting and new parents as he hosts a national roundtable on stillbirth prevention in Canberra.
The $26 million for peri-natal depression will be available as grants to mental health and parent support organisations such as Sands, PANDA and BeyondBlue to develop and deliver innovative programs to bolster the mental health of parents.
Dedicated grants rounds will be available for perinatal mental health support, perinatal loss, bereavement peer support and perinatal mental health promotion and training.
Sands CEO Jackie Mead said she welcomed the announcement of the new grant program, saying that this investment in perinatal mental health and wellbeing programs 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.
"The future plans and expectations of parents are devastated by the loss of a baby, and often families will experience pre or postnatal depression and anxiety, often resulting in lifelong impact to their wellbeing. Good support and treatment is critical to helping those parents feel less alone and more able to cope with the terrible circumstances they find themselves in," said Ms Mead.
"Bereaved parents need access to ongoing suppport - we know those support needs don't end when they walk out of the hospital doors," she said. "We're very keen to implement programs that will ease the transition between hospital and home for bereaved parents, and to expand services to better support dads, too."