WA government backs launch of mental health programs for parents


The Western Australian government has committed more than $1 million to fund seven new pilot programs aimed at supporting the mental health of new and experienced parents.

The perinatal pilot programs will deliver services that address gaps and meet individual community needs, according to mental health minister Stephen Dawson.

In an announcement on Tuesday, Dawson said the programs would include services for women experiencing co-occurring complexities such as history of trauma and family and domestic violence. An initiative for new fathers would also be included.

“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.”

The successful services to be awarded grants include 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.

The initiatives will be delivered in the metropolitan area and the South-West. Outcomes from the programs will inform future planning and development of mental health services for Western Australians, Dawson said.

At least one in five women and one in ten fathers experience anxiety, depression, or both during pregnancy and after birth, according to Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia.

Read more: Getting childcare and motherhood-care policies right


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