Did you know that 1 in 5 new mums and 1 in 10 new dads in Australia experience postnatal depression and anxiety? That is around 100,000 Australian parents each year.
In New Zealand, an estimated 14% of women develop depression, anxiety or other mental health issues during pregnancy and childbirth, with 4% of male partners experiencing depression post-childbirth.
This week (7–13 November) is Perinatal Mental Health Week in Australia. This important initiative spotlights the mental health of new and expecting parents.
Professor Megan Galbally, Chair of the RANZCP Section of Perinatal and Infant Psychiatry, explains the significance of supporting this area:
‘It is important we all work together to support mental health in new parents given the importance of early life for children, and it is clear the bond and relationship between parent and child is crucial to lifelong wellbeing. But equally, children thrive when as a community we come together to ensure we support parents in every aspect of life, not only in parenting, but in other aspects of life such as in the workforce through parental leave and family friendly policies.’
The RANZCP Foundation, through the support of generous donors and benefactors, continues to make a significant contribution to research aimed at improving perinatal and infant mental health.
Supported by a generous bequest from the Kinsman family, The Pat, Toni and Peter Kinsman Research Scholarship, encourages research into postnatal depression in women in Australia and New Zealand.
During 2020, RANZCP Fellow Dr Beth Mah, together with PhD candidate, Akeshia Dart, used this scholarship to deliver a five-week pilot program project aiming to improve depression in Indigenous mothers using art and health education:
‘Strengthening Women is an ArtsHealth intervention that has been designed with the community for the community. Strengthening Women aims to help improve the Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and carers of children aged 0 to 5 participating through the use of ArtsHealth and Yarning. Data reflects that participants attending the program reported an improvement in happiness, calmness and confidence within themselves.’
Read more about the perinatal mental health research projects recently supported by the RANZCP Foundation on our website.