A free specialist perinatal psychological counselling via video call will provide a tremendous boost for parents in the region who are affected by perinatal depression and anxiety (PNDA), Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said.

The Gidget Foundation Australia’s Start Talking program was launched recently with $270,000 in NSW Government funding to support the initiative. 

Mr Anderson said it can be difficult to access mental health support services when living in remote and regional areas and the NSW Government is committed to changing that. 

“Families in remote areas don’t always have the same access to mental health services as those in the cities and that is why the Start Talking program is so important – to assist parents living in regional areas who may be in need of psychological support,” he said.

“Parents will now have access to specialist perinatal and infant mental health services, via video call.

“PNDA is a condition commonly experienced by women during pregnancy in the year following the birth of a baby. New fathers are also vulnerable to PNDA.

 “Parents who are living in regional NSW and experiencing symptoms of PNDA will no longer have to experience the inconvenience, time and expense of travelling long distances to access the support they need. 

“Across Australia up to one in five new mums and one in 10 new dads may experience symptoms of PNDA – which is almost 100,000 expectant and new parents each year,” Mr Anderson concluded.

‘Gidget’ was the nickname of a young mother who took her own life while suffering from unrecognised postnatal depression. Family and friends established the Gidget Foundation in 2001, which has grown to assist thousands of expectant parents and their families each year. 

For more information please visit www.gidgetfoundation.org.au or telephone 1300 851 758.

If you or someone you know needs crisis support please call Lifeline 13 11 14 or MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78. For mental health services visit your GP or phone the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.