New perinatal mental health service opens at Westmead Private Hospital for expectant and new parents
Jun 04, 2021
Western Sydneysiders experiencing perinatal depression and anxiety (PNDA) can now access GP-referred, free psychological counselling sessions at Gidget House at Westmead Private Hospital.
The brand-new Gidget House launched at Westmead Private Hospital at Level 1, 14 Mons Road, Westmead on Wednesday 2nd June. An afternoon tea was held in the Maternity Unit at the Rooftop Garden to celebrate and welcome parents to the new service.
Gidget House sources local psychologists and offers free individual perinatal psychological counselling services. The service at Westmead Private was opened officially by the Minister for Mental Health, Women and Regional Youth, the Hon Bronnie Taylor MLC.
Hon. Bronnie Taylor MLC, said that a baby is a blessing to families, but it can be incredibly challenging for new parents to navigate this new chapter in their lives.
“Caring for a newborn can be a stressful, lonely and overwhelming time. The staff at Gidget Foundation Australia are passionate about supporting families in their time of need and the work they do is vital in supporting our communities. I’m incredibly proud to be part of a government that supports Gidget Foundation Australia,” she said.
Mike Flatley, CEO of Westmead Private Hospital said of the opening, “We are thrilled to be partnering with Gidget Foundation Australia and being able to support expectant and new parents with their journey. It will be wonderful to provide an even stronger support network for families that need a helping hand. This free service will help local families who would otherwise struggle to pay for specialist perinatal counselling.
“The beginning of the parenting journey can be a vulnerable and isolating experience. The services provided through this partnership will help parents to build a support network which is even more important if they are not surrounded by family,” Mr Flatley said.
Gidget Foundation Australia CEO, Arabella Gibson, said, “We all know the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and we want to ensure we are a community that is able to support parents. Mental health can be a complex and delicate issue among new parents, and this can make it hard to speak out. It’s wonderful to collaborate with Mike and the team at Westmead Private Hospital and we hope this new offering can provide a safe space and encourage expectant and new parents to seek help if they need it.
“It is critical that we are able to expand to ensure that we can reach as many vulnerable families in need as possible. Year to date, we’ve increased our service provision by 122% to meet the needs of the Australian community. This is the second service in NSW offered through Ramsay Health Care so it’s a delight to be able to grow our Gidget footprint at Ramsay hospitals across the country.
“Of course, it is unfortunate that there is such a significant need for these services at all, but we are seeing enormous need for perinatal mental health programs in the wider community and we must be there to support new parents as much as we can,” Ms Gibson said.
Gidget Foundation Australia and Westmead Private Hospital appreciate that pregnancy and childbirth bring much joy along with a few challenges and believe it is important that expectant and new parents have access to services and support that will assist them with their emotional wellbeing.