Program funding for struggling mothers in Canberra
The Sector > Provider > General News > Extension for Canberra program which supports mothers with complex challenges

Extension for Canberra program which supports mothers with complex challenges

by Freya Lucas

April 25, 2024

Following a successful pilot phase a new therapy program that supports new mothers who are struggling with complex social and emotional difficulties has been extended.


The $597,300 Mother-Infant Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Program, funded through the 2023/2024 Budget, is a 24-week program that includes weekly group work and individual therapy to support mothers with children under two-years-of-age learn how to best manage their emotions and behaviours.


Run by the Perinatal Infant Mental Health Consultation Service (PIMHCS), the program is billed as “an important service to make parenting a cherished life experience that strengthens family bonds for mothers with underlying mental health conditions.”


Dialectical behaviour therapy, primarily designed to support individuals with borderline personality disorder, aims to help individuals build skills for regulating emotions, improving interpersonal relationships, and coping with distressing situations.


“Having children can be both a joy and a challenge. For people in our community who already face complex mental health challenges, parenthood can be an especially challenging experience,” Minister for Mental Health Emma Davidson said.


“For mothers who have pre-existing mental health conditions, they may experience big waves of emotions that can be hard to manage. They can also find it difficult to connect with and understand their emotions, may struggle with relationships, or experience confusion with who they are and what they want in life.”


The program helps mothers understand and better manage these challenges through strategies such as mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness, to reduce and change behaviours that can be life threatening, self-harming or negatively impact their quality of life.


“I look forward to seeing the difference this program makes for its participants and how it is best tailored and expanded to meet community needs,” Minister Davidson added.


The program has been adapted from a more traditional Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Program by including specific skills for new mums and parenting. There is onsite childcare, so mums can participate in the sessions with the other mums but also spend some of the time practicing skills directly with their babies.


New mothers on the waitlist will have access to person-centred pre-treatment while they wait to join.

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