• Hannah Phillips

Start Talking to Support New Parents

A free national telehealth program for new parents across the nation has been launched this week, called ‘Start Talking’.

The Gidget Foundation initiative provides free specialist perinatal psychologist support for families experiencing emotional distress during pregnancy and early parenthood.

Courtney had the details on this morning's Brekkie Flow.

Start Talking is primarily targeted at families who may otherwise struggle to receive timely, appropriate and supportive care for perinatal depression and anxiety, such as those in regional areas.

With a GP-referred Mental Health Plan, expectant and new mums and dads can now receive up to seven free video-call counselling sessions with a specially-trained perinatal psychologist that can be accessed from anywhere in the country with internet. Arabella Gibson, CEO of Gidget Foundation Australia said: “We have launched our Start Talking Telehealth service to enhance ease of access to, and increase choice in, perinatal mental health services across Australia.

“People living in regional, rural and remote Australia will no longer experience the inconvenience, time and expense of having to travel significant distances simply to access these services. For some patients, just leaving their home to seek treatment is not possible.” Chris Barnes, Clinical Psychologist at Gidget Foundation Australia explained: “Tech has become such a big part of our lives.

"We’ve found that when people use the video call option, it has a disinhibiting effect, meaning that they find it easier to ‘open up’.

"Recent evidence also shows that when in expert hands, video counselling is just as effective as being face-to-face."

‘Gidget’ was the nickname of a vibrant young mother who took her own life while suffering from unrecognised postnatal depression.

She hid her suffering from even her loving family and friends.

Gidget’s devastating loss inspired her sisters and friends to establish a foundation in her name and, crucially devote their lives to helping families in need of emotional support.

Today, the Gidget Foundation assists thousands of expectant parents and their families each year. If you need support, you can contact the Start Talking program by calling 1300 851 758, or contacting Lifeline on 13 11 14.