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Australian groups unite to break stigma on perinatal mental health

Namita is writing a book about her experience with perinatal mental illness Source: SBS News

Perinatal Mental Health Week ran from the 7th to the 13th of November. Its aim is to break down the stigmas, particularly affecting parents from Indigenous or migrant backgrounds, that prevent many families from reaching out for help.

In Australia, one in five mothers and one in 10 fathers will experience perinatal depression and anxiety. Many support services have seen a sharp rise in calls for help during the pandemic.

Clinical psychologist Chris Barnes from Gidget Foundation Australia, an organisation that supports the emotional wellbeing of expectant and new parents, says the past two years have been tough.

"So at Gidget Foundation Australia, we have had a 127 per cent increase in demand for our services - and that's massive. We know that so many parents are having a really hard time, even more than normal." 

Health experts say Indigenous, multicultural and LGBTQIA-plus families are especially at risk. 

It's why more than 40 organisations have banded together to help raise awareness for Perinatal Mental Health Week.

Ms Barnes says help is available for new and expecting parents to receive timely, appropriate and specialist care.

"New and expectant parents are not alone. There are many services available. I think a good place to start is with your G-P, or a friend, or get one of your loved ones to even help you get to an appointment if that's been hard. So start with those, you could even talk to a midwife or an obstetrician, or you could go straight to a perinatal specialist service like the Gidget Foundation Australia."

Click on the player at the top of the page to listen to the feature in Punjabi.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at https://www.sbs.com.au/language/coronavirus

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