26 September 2023

Pilot health programs to ease family stresses

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The Department of Health is to launch new perinatal pilot programs for vulnerable Western Australian parents.

The Department said the funding of the seven new programs aimed to deliver services tailored to individual community needs, addressing service gaps which had been identified in the metropolitan area and the South-West.

Minister for Mental Health, Stephen Dawson said perinatal mental health services were important to promote confidence and emotional wellbeing for new and experienced parents around the time of the birth of a new child.

“The programs will include services for women experiencing co-occurring complexities such as history of trauma, family and domestic violence, and will also include a New Dads’ program to address barriers for fathers to access support,” Mr Dawson said.

“They will be delivered by experienced service providers and outcomes will be used to inform future planning and development of mental health services for Western Australians.”

He said the seven new pilot services to be awarded grants were: Women’s Health and Wellbeing Services; South Coastal Health and Community Services; Fremantle Women’s Health Centre; Midland Women’s Health Care Place; Women’s Health and Family Services; Australian Association for Infant Mental Health WA; and the Radiance Network South West.

Mr Dawson said the Government recognised that allocating funds to perinatal and infant mental health built the foundations for wellbeing and success across the lifespan of the youngest Western Australians and for future generations to come.

“The first years of parenthood can be tough for people regarding social and emotional adjustment and mental illness, so making sure traditional and non-traditional options are available for women and men to access is so important for good mental health outcomes,” he said.

“These pilot programs will increase the mental health support provided to men to promote father-inclusive practice and reduce psychological distress associated with fatherhood,” Mr Dawson said.

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