Play group tack­les baby blues

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health -

have nowhere to go, point­ing out that all Aus­tralians have ac­cess to a GP and are en­ti­tled to psy­cho­log­i­cal treat­ment.

She also warns that sup­port groups are not al­ways the right an­swer for PND suf­fer­ers, and that not all groups pro­vided ev­i­denced-based treat­ment. She says in­di­vid­u­als need to be as­sessed be­fore join­ing a group, to en­sure group ther­apy is ap­pro­pri­ate.

But Hughes says the feed­back from her ser­vice, which is open not only to mums, but mums-to-be, dads, fos­ter par­ents and adopted par­ents, has been pos­i­tive.

She says the sup­ported-play­group for­mat also makes it eas­ier for women to seek help with­out the bar­rier of find­ing some­one to look af­ter their child: ‘‘ With the chil­dren taken care of, they can switch off for a bit and ac­tu­ally ad­dress some of the is­sues that have been com­ing up for them and for their re­la­tion­ship, and for the re­la­tion­ship with their child’’.

She says it is dif­fer­ent to a moth­ers’ group, which could be in­tim­i­dat­ing for women suf­fer­ing from PND.

‘‘ If you’re not feel­ing very con­fi­dent as a par­ent, and you’re not cop­ing in­cred­i­bly well, go­ing to a moth­ers’ group can some­times be a lit­tle com­pet­i­tive,’’ she said.

‘‘ What we of­fer is a re­ally non-judg­men­tal, sup­port­ing en­vi­ron­ment. As a ther­a­pist, I’m fa­cil­i­tat­ing the dis­cus­sion, so if it leads to­wards that, I can reel it back in.’’

Hav­ing a male coun­sel­lor on hand makes the en­vi­ron­ment wel­com­ing for men, too. ‘‘ It can be even more dif­fi­cult for them, be­cause the fo­cus is so of­ten on the women.’’

Last year, Hughes’s ser­vice was pro­vided free of charge, but this year par­tic­i­pants will pay a nom­i­nal fee to help with run­ning costs. The group runs for two hours ev­ery Fri­day dur­ing the school term at the Kir­ri­billi Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre in Syd­ney’s north, which has do­nated the space.

‘‘ One of the key things for me is keep­ing this as a low-cost ser­vice, be­cause fam­i­lies have of­ten gone down to one in­come and don’t have ex­tra money on-hand,’’ Hughes said.

She hopes to roll out sim­i­lar ser­vices through­out the greater Syd­ney area. ‘‘ My plan is to de­velop Kir­ri­billi as a best-prac­tice model for NSW.’’

But at this point, her re­sources are lim­ited — she has been pay­ing for leaflets and posters from her own pocket. ‘‘ I’m in the process of ap­proach­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ment and the De­part­ment of Health for fund­ing to con­tinue. At this point in time, it’s all vol­un­tary . . . which is fine, and we’re do­ing it be­cause we’re pas­sion­ate about it.

‘‘ How­ever, good­will only goes so far.’’

Pic­ture: Vanessa Hunter

Seek­ing best prac­tice: Melissa Hughes and Paul Grima at Kir­ri­billi Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.