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You have saved my relationship with my child...

Over the years, I've received countless heartwarming testimonials from mothers, each one affirming the transformative power of peer support in their lives. Yet, when a new mum recently shared with me, "you have saved my relationship with my child," her words resonated deeply. It was a poignant reminder of the profound impact our work can have on families — the kind of impact I always believed in but hadn't fully grasped until then. This personal revelation prompted me to delve deeper into the devastating effects of postnatal depression on family dynamics and relationships.


As a mother who has navigated the profound challenges of postnatal depression firsthand, I understand all too well the ripple effects it can have on relationships and the critical need for effective solutions.

The prevalence of postnatal depression among mothers not only affects their own mental wellbeing but also has significant implications for the development and future of their children. Research indicates that children of mothers experiencing postnatal depression may face emotional dysregulation, cognitive and behavioural challenges, anxiety, and depression later in life (as depicted in the graphic below).


Over the past decade, the number of women experiencing postnatal depression has significantly increased, and maternal suicide attempts have tripled, with more women living with suicidal thoughts than men. These numbers aren't just statistics; they represent real mothers, families, and communities, and the consequences are devastating for all, especially children.


Recognising the clear link between postnatal depression and negative outcomes for children, it is imperative to address this issue comprehensively. With possibly more than 100,000 women struggling with maternal mental health d isorders every year in Australia, and 75% going untreated, prioritising the mental wellbeing of mothers is crucial for fostering healthier developmental outcomes for their children.

This involves implementing robust support systems that not only address mothers' mental health needs but also equip them with the resources and skills for effective parenting. Early intervention and continuous support can mitigate the adverse effects of postnatal depression and promote secure attachments between mothers and their children, benefiting not only individual families but also the broader community.


The effectiveness of peer support programs in preventing and addressing postnatal depression and suicidal feelings is well-documented. Research shows that these programs not only enhance mental health outcomes for mothers but also positively impact children's well-being by fostering a nurturing home environment.

By addressing maternal mental health comprehensively, we not only support mothers in their journey but also lay a foundation for healthier families and communities across Australia.


Another compelling argument is that peer support programs like those offered by Villagehood Australia not only enhance maternal mental health outcomes but also present a cost-effective solution for addressing South Australia's mental health gap, estimated at $125 million. Studies have shown that these programs reduce the burden on healthcare systems by preventing costly emergency interventions and hospitalisations.

By investing in peer support now, we can mitigate the financial strain associated with untreated maternal mental health issues, ultimately saving taxpayer dollars and improving the overall well-being of South Australian families.

Founded in 2020, Villagehood Australia stands as South Australia's only mother-centric peer support charity. Through innovative peer support programs tailored to the early years of motherhood, Villagehood Australia offers a nurturing environment where mothers can share experiences, receive professional guidance, and build lasting connections.


These programs are specifically designed to meet the unique needs of mothers during this critical period, providing them with the support and resources necessary for a positive and healthy transition into motherhood.


Over the past year, we' have enrolled more than 450 participants and achieved up to a 50% improvement in wellbeing and connections metrics, proving that our programs have not only strengthened parenting skills but also deepened social networks within communities.

So why aren't we seeing more mother-centric peer support programs developed in SA? The unfortunate truth is that maternal mental health is not seen as a priority. Mothers are not seen as a priority. This sad reality will not stop us, though.


For some mothers, Villagehood Australia is their only safety net. If, like us, you believe that our cause is vital and deserves more attention and funding, please reach out and support us financially.

Without funding, we simply can't help those mothers who desperately need us.


Graphic depicting the Impact of Postnatal Depression on Child Development and how Peer Support can help break the cycle - by Villagehood Australia


 

Author: Dinah Thomasset | Founder & CEO at Villagehood Australia

Contact Details: dinah@ villagehoodaustralia.com | 0411 270 169


 

To learn more about Villagehood Australia and our Peer Support and Mother-Centric programs, please check our website www.villagehoodaustralia.com. Villagehood Australia is a registered charity with the ACNC and is endorsed as Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR). Tax-deductible donations can be made here.








 

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