Gidget Foundation Australia opened its third Gidget House at the Mater Hospital in North Sydney on Tuesday 22 August. Now even more expectant and new parents who are experiencing perinatal anxiety and depression can access GP-referred, free psychological sessions.
Gidget House at the Mater Hospital will initially open on Tuesdays from 9am until 4pm and, subject to demand, will extend to further weekdays. It will be located on Level 3 within the Maternity Ward. The Mater welcomes around 2,500 new babies each year and priority of service will be given to those hospital patients. However, if spaces are unfilled within 48hrs of an appointment then these times are offered to non-hospital referrals.
Currently, the Mater is one of two hospitals to run the Gidget Emotional Wellbeing Program. This screening program enables women booked to have their baby at the Mater Hospital a one-hour appointment with a trained Gidget midwife to explore their feelings and emotional wellbeing and discuss their concerns regarding the potential for postnatal depression and anxiety. Gidget House at the Mater offers those who do require further support their free psychological sessions at the hospital.
Specialist Perinatal Psychologist, Sarah Robuck, who will be stationed at Gidget House at the Mater, says there is a growing need for accessible services within this area.
“My own personal experience through fertility treatments, a traumatic childbirth and a very sick newborn requiring significant medical attention in the NICU ward highlighted how vital access to support services such as mental health services for mothers and parents are,” says Robuck. “Early intervention is key – proactive support, education, and treatment for parents, particularly mothers, can help reduce the occurrence of dysfunctional family systems, individual mental health difficulties and behavioural difficulties with young children.”
Pregnancy brings joys along with challenges. The Gidget Foundation and the Mater Hospital recognise the importance of emotional wellbeing for new parents and the need to provide them with support and services. Previously known as postnatal depression, perinatal anxiety and depression during pregnancy and early parenthood (the perinatal period) affects almost 100,000 Australians each year.
Janine Loader, CEO The Mater Hospital says of the new initiative: “We are delighted to be collaborating with the Gidget Foundation to provide this great complementary offering for our patients who already experience our Gidget Emotional Wellbeing Program through a specialist Pre-Admission Midwife Appointment. It’s vital we support the community both as in-patients at The Mater but also once they have their baby safely at home.”
Arabella Gibson, CEO Gidget Foundation Australia says: “I firmly believe that sharing our message with new mums and dads is absolutely vital as they try to balance high expectations with today’s fast paced lifestyle. Our community needs to know that it’s ok to feel anxious and low and that the Gidget Foundation can help them through free counselling and professional support at Gidget House in North Sydney, Randwick, and now at the Mater Hospital as well.”
“We are delighted to partner with the Mater Maternity team, a perfect synergy, together offering quality parenting services and emotional support,” Gibson adds.