06 November 2022

New and expecting families in NSW are being encouraged to reach out to mental health and wellbeing supports this Perinatal Mental Health Week (6 - 12 November).

Minister for Women and Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said whilst pregnancy and the first year of parenthood can be a wonderful time for many, experiencing depression and anxiety during this period is not uncommon.

“We know that 13 per cent of new mothers and up to 1 in 10 new fathers develop depression and anxiety, which is why we are encouraging families to be aware of the signs, and seek help if they are concerned,” Mrs Taylor said.

“Welcoming a baby to the family is busy and overwhelming, however, if you’re experiencing long periods of low moods, a persistent feeling of hopelessness or worthlessness, support is available.

“Seeking early support and counselling can make a major difference in the long run for new parents.”

The NSW Government is committed to providing and supporting health care services to assist families at risk of perinatal depression or anxiety. These include;

  • Two state-wide mother and baby inpatient units for specialist perinatal mental health care. The first unit, Naarmuru, at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital opened in May 2022, whilst the second unit at Westmead Hospital is due to open in early 2023.
  • The SAFESTART screening program which offers universal perinatal mental health screening to women who attend maternity and Child and Family Health Services.
  • Free Virtual Residential Parenting Services through Tresillian and Karitane, which are supported through a $10.2 million NSW government investment.
  • 15 Gidget Houses across metro and regional NSW.
  • Six Regional Tresillian Family Care Centres and five Tresillian 2U mobile vans to provide services to families, which are supported by a $12.2 million NSW Government investment.

More information on support services for perinatal depression and anxiety is available here.

The NSW Government is investing $2.9 billion into mental health services as part of the 2022-23 NSW Budget.

People can call the 24/7 Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 to speak with a mental health professional for advice or to be connected with specialist NSW Health mental health services.