Today, on World Maternal Mental Health Day, we are proud to announce that a new free psychological counselling service, Gidget House Clayton, will open on 18 May 2020. This is a partnership between Jean Hailes for Women’s Health and the Gidget Foundation Australia.
The new Gidget House service, based at the Jean Hailes Clayton clinic, will provide free psychological counselling sessions for GP-referred expectant and new parents experiencing perinatal depression and anxiety (PNDA).
Due to COVID-19, however, all appointments will be conducted by telehealth video-counselling (or telephone) until further notice.
Gidget Foundation Australia helps thousands of expectant parents and their families each year and provides psychological services to parents in need through its Gidget House face-to-face services.
Gidget House Clayton is the first Victorian Gidget House, joining sister services in Toowoomba in QLD and several services in Sydney and regional NSW.
Pregnancy and childbirth brings joy, but also many challenges. Previously known as postnatal depression, perinatal anxiety and depression during pregnancy and early parenthood (the perinatal period) affects almost 100,000 Australians each year – that’s one in five new mums and one in 10 new dads. Gidget was the nickname of a vibrant young Sydney mother who took her own life while suffering from unrecognised postnatal depression. Her family and friends created the Gidget Foundation in her honour.
Gidget Foundation Australia CEO Arabella Gibson said preparing for the arrival of, or caring for, a newborn could be a "stressful, lonely and overwhelming time" and that speaking about such stress remained difficult for many expectant and new parents.
"There can be a stigma surrounding these kinds of issues," said Ms Gibson.
"Many of our existing clients say counselling at Gidget House has been a life-changing experience. And as a free service, it’s also going to help families who would otherwise struggle to pay for specialist psychological counselling.”
Jean Hailes CEO David Lloyd said the work of the Gidget Foundation was "invaluable" for expectant and new parents.
“It aligns with our clinical offerings, which includes support for general women’s health issues, endocrinology, physiotherapy and psychology,” said Mr Lloyd. “Women are welcome at Jean Hailes through all of their life stages.”
To access the free services of Gidget House Clayton, clients need to ask for a referral and a mental healthcare plan from their GP, which will give them up to 10 free bulk-billed appointments. It is recommended they make an advance appointment with Gidget House to give themselves time to get this paperwork from their doctor.
Gidget House Clayton is located at Jean Hailes for Women’s Health Medical Centre, 173 Carinish Road, Clayton.
All appointments and inquiries must be made directly to Gidget Foundation Australia on 1300 851 758 or (02) 9460 1550.