Perinatal Mental Health Week is coming
The Sector > Research > Allied Fields > Perinatal Mental Health Week is coming: challenges for regional and remote families

Perinatal Mental Health Week is coming: challenges for regional and remote families

by Freya Lucas

November 10, 2023

Perinatal Mental Health Week runs from 1218 November, and in 2023, the theme is ‘Connection through conversation’, acknowledging that honest and compassionate conversations about perinatal mental health are life changing. 


Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) created Perinatal Mental Health Week in 2005 to help the community and health professionals to better understand perinatal mental health, and to acknowledge that everyone needs help at some point in their lives, and everyone deserves compassion and support.


Each year the PANDA community shares their stories to help achieve the vision of a society where perinatal mental health is valued and understood and where stigma and systemic barriers to seeking help no longer exist.


During Perinatal Mental Health Week the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program is shining a light on giving babies the best start in life by improving the mental health and wellbeing of new parents and carers in regional and remote areas.


Associate Professor Alina Morawska, Director of The University of Queensland’s Parenting and Family Support Centre and Triple P for Baby co-author, said an estimated one in every five women and one in 10 fathers or non-birth partners experience anxiety, depression, or both during pregnancy and/or following birth.


“A lack of access to specialist perinatal mental health care in rural and remote settings, ongoing weather events, financial strain, and social isolation can further compound the challenges faced by new parents and carers in regional and remote areas,” Dr Morawska said.


“This can leave them feeling stressed, anxious, unhappy, and tired – all risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing mental health concerns and negatively impacting family life.”  


“Moreover, a recent longitudinal study followed over 800 women and found that women living in rural communities who had depression reported significantly higher parenting stress when compared to women living in metropolitan areas, and also reported lower access to parenting activities and supports.”


Triple P Online for Baby, the free, evidence-based online program for new and expecting parents, can be a welcome support, not only in normalising seeking help but also to provide tips and strategies to help families navigate the early stages of parenting with more confidence. 


“The Triple P for Baby program offers online modules that can be done at your own pace with strategies that suit each family’s specific needs and includes ideas and strategies to support parents’ emotional well-being,” Dr Morawska said. 


Learn more about Perinatal Mental Health Week here, PANDA here, and Triple P Online for Baby here

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