Peri­na­tal classes to be cut

GOV­ERN­MENT FUND­ING ENDS

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Lau­ren Tesolin

This class is like my fam­ily … You don’t know just how much it’s helped me … It’s for moth­ers who are suf­fer­ing from anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion or post­na­tal de­pres­sion.

AN UR­GENT call for in­creased peri­na­tal de­pres­sion sup­port has been made by a group of moth­ers, whose ser­vice will be cut at the be­gin­ning of Novem­ber.

The des­per­ate plea came from mother Re­nee Har­ri­son, who is un­der­tak­ing the Unit­ingCare Burn­side Peri­na­tal Well­be­ing Pro­gram, based in Bid­will.

“We got told that our class had to be cut be­cause of fund­ing rea­sons,” Ms Har­ri­son said. “It’s typ­i­cally for moth­ers who are suf­fer­ing from anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion or post­na­tal de­pres­sion.

“You don’t know just how much it’s helped me.”

Data from the 2010 Aus­tra-

– RE­NEE HAR­RI­SON

lian Na­tional In­fant Feed­ing Sur­vey re­veals one in five moth­ers of chil­dren aged 24 months or less had been di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion.

More than half of these moth­ers re­ported their di­ag­nosed de­pres­sion was peri­na­tal (de­pres­sion di­ag­nosed from preg­nancy un­til the child’s first birth­day).

The ther­a­peu­tic sup­port group is pro­vided over a 12month pe­riod.

“This class is like my fam­ily,” Ms Har­ri­son said.

“The course en­cour­aged me to sign up to a com­mu­nity ser­vices diploma at Evocca Col­lege.” Ms Har­ri­son said there was a pe­ti­tion to save the course.

“If this ser­vice is taken away we need another one like it,” she said.

Unit­ingCare Burn­side act­ing di­rec­tor Liz San­ders said it was a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to cut the peri­na­tal class.

“The de­ci­sion has not been made lightly and comes in the knowl­edge that Unit­ingCare will be un­able to at- tract gov­ern­ment fund­ing now that the Depart­ment of Health in NSW has an­nounced that it is rolling out its own peri­na­tal pro­gram called Sus­tain­ing NSW Fam­i­lies,” Ms San­ders said.

She as­sured un­con­di­tional sup­port would be given to those moth­ers af­fected by the change.

Pic­ture: PHIL ROGERS

Lisa Bar­tulis, with baby Levi, and Re­nee Har­ri­son, with Joshua, love the sup­port of the peri­na­tal classes.

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