Nov 17
Parkes Pram Walk To Mark Postnatal Depression Awareness Week

The Parkes community is invited to participate in a Pram Walk on Thursday, 19 November from 10am – 1pm to promote Perinatal Depression and Anxiety (PNDA) Awareness Week, which runs from 15 – 21 November, 2015.

Parkes Community Health social work, psychology, dietetics, the Indigenous Education Officer and child and family nurses have partnered with the Parkes District Hospital Maternity Unit, Parkes Neighbourhood Central, Richmond PRA and local NSW Health Mental Health Services to hold the free community event.

The Group will proceed with their prams to walk from the Neighbourhood Central Car Park down Clarinda Street to convene at Cooke Park, Parkes for a sausage sizzle, guest speakers and activities. Participants are asked to register for catering purposes by phoning Neighbourhood Central on 6862 1872.

Perinatal Depression and Anxiety (PNDA) Awareness Week was formally known as Postnatal Depression Awareness Week. The name change is in response to the importance of recognising and supporting parents' mental health right through the perinatal period (during pregnancy and after birth).

Antenatal anxiety and depression are strong risk factors in developing postnatal anxiety and depression. Early treatment during pregnancy can reduce these risks and it’s important that a parent's wellbeing is considered across this continuum, rather than viewing these periods as separate.

Many expecting mums and dads struggle with antenatal depression and more than 1 in 7 new mums and up to 1 in 10 new dads are diagnosed with postnatal depression each year. Even more are thought to suffer anxiety. It's important for expecting and new parents, as well as those around them, to be aware of perinatal anxiety and depression, to know the signs to look out for and where to go for help. With the right treatment and support, new parents can make a full recovery.

Family support Worker Tina Nash of Neighbourhood Central extends a warm invitation to the Parkes Community, and surrounding districts to join in this event. 

“Men, women, families, aunts, uncles and cousins to come and join in this event to help raise awareness and reduce the stigma of Peri-Natal Depression in our community,” she said.

Lachlan Health Service Community & Allied Health Manager Kathryn Gleeson said the event is a good example of interagency partnerships and co-operation, combining to raise awareness on a very important health issue.

“Our services exist to promote best health outcomes for local communities, individual and families,” she said.

“This is simply why we all do what we do! Any event that promotes the strengthening of families and assists to build a solid foundation for our future generations is worthwhile. Healthy families, mean healthy kids. They are our future.”

Anxiety during pregnancy and after birth accompanied by mood swings is not uncommon. District Clinical Midwife Consultant Cath Ryan said about 10% of women and 20% of expectant fathers’ depression and anxiety can become a significant factor which is absolutely debilitating.

“This needs to be talked about and more widely understood,” she said.

“PND is not a weakness. It is an illness, often present in families. Raising awareness and identifying risk early, through pre-natal screening throughout pregnancy, can lead to early intervention, that can minimize the duration and effects of this significant illness”.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Child and Family Nurse Melanie Tighe said; pram walking is encouraged through their Early Bird Group to promote a healthy lifestyle and community engagement of real benefit to families.

“This year’s event for Peri-Natal Depression awareness week builds upon the previous efforts of Parkes Community Health Child and Family Nurses, with a past event held by a group walk to Bushman’s Dam,” she said.

The Lachlan Community Health Senior Social Worker Sandi Bailey who is new to NSW Western Local Health District (and formerly from Murrumbidgee) said, her first experience of a pram walk event was last year in Young NSW.

“Last year’s event was amazing!” she said, and looks forward to participating with the Lachlan community for this year’s event.

Maternity Unit Manager Lachlan Health Service Johanne Burke is also enthusiastic about the Pram Walk which ties in nicely with the roll out of “Know Your Midwife” (KYM). KYM is an initiative which provides continuity of maternal care across the region for expectant families.

“Having consistent service in pregnancy, during and after birth is vital not only for baby, but the entire family unit,” Joe said.

Parkes Mental Health Team Leader Cindy Beadon is equally keen to see as many community members participating in the event.

“The WayAhead formally known as the Mental Health Association NSW offers a number of small grants to assist participants in holding events during Perinatal Depression & Anxiety Awareness Week 2015,” she said.

“We are very fortunate the Neighbourhood Centre made the grant application and are also grateful for Council in making a safe and affordable venue available for us on the day.”

So if you have a free morning on Thursday the 19th of November and would enjoy a walk in good company followed by a sausage sizzle at Cooke Park; please call Neighbourhood Central on 6862 1872. Organisers suggest participants wear bright clothing, hats, sunscreen and good walking shoes. Also, bring a bottle of water, shade for your pram and a blanket to sit on.