21 July 2020

New and expectant parents experiencing perinatal depression and anxiety (PNDA) can now access specialist counselling with no out-of-pocket costs at a new Gidget House in Wagga Wagga, thanks to support from the NSW Government.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro and Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor officially opened the Wagga Wagga centre today, which will expand access to GP-referred counselling sessions for PNDA as part of a four-year $4 million investment by the NSW Government into the Gidget Foundation.

“Regional NSW has had to endure drought, bushfires, and now Covid-19 which places enormous burden on families. As a father of three daughters, I know how important it is to be able to meet up with a health professional in person and have a heartfelt yarn about the pressures you are up against as a new parent,” Mr Barilaro said.

“We strongly encourage parents in the Wagga region to seek help from the mental health professionals at Gidget House whenever they need extra support.”

Mrs Taylor said the new centre will provide both face-to-face and telehealth counselling services at the centre which is co-located at the Tresillian Family Care Centre.

“A new arrival can be incredibly overwhelming, so having specialist mental health support right next to the existing family wellbeing service means getting the right help will be faster and easier for new parents,” Mrs Taylor said.

“Offering telehealth services mean we can reach more people and make sure nobody is isolated from the help they need.”

Gidget Foundation Australia CEO Arabella Gibson said the work of counsellors in regional areas is more important than ever.

“The drought, COVID-19, job and uncertainty are all chipping away at the resilience of parents,” Ms Gibson said.

“Providing early psychological supports for families can avert more serious mental ill health and help parents to stay resilient in the face of adversity.”

Gidget Houses work closely with other local health services to ensure families are reffered to more support as needed. They also provide counselling services in Dubbo, Coffs Harbour, Taree and Queanbeyan and a number of locations in Sydney.​