Page 3648 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 22 November 2022

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Perinatal Mental Health Week

MR COCKS (Murrumbidgee) (4.49): Two weeks ago, from 6 to 12 November, it was Perinatal Mental Health Week—an important time to raise awareness of mental health issues facing new parents. While Perinatal Mental Health Week was an important opportunity, it is important that new parents know there are supports and other people out there to support them always.

Evidence shows that one in five new mums and one in 10 new dads experience perinatal depression and anxiety. This is around 100,000 Australian parents each year. For those parents, a time they might have expected to be filled with joy and excitement can be turned on its head. Many of those I have talked to speak of feelings of isolation and fear and guilt. They tell me how it feels when you know that everyone around you seems to not get it.

So it is notable that this year the theme of Perinatal Mental Health Week was “We’re here, we get it”. This reflects the passion, the knowledge and the understanding of those people who care for everyone facing perinatal mental health issues. It also provides hope to all those struggling parents, because when we are struggling, we need somewhere to turn—somewhere like the Perinatal Wellbeing Centre in Weston Creek.

I was fortunate enough to visit the Perinatal Wellbeing Centre relatively recently, and I would like to personally thank Yvonne and Natalie for taking the time to show me around, and I really want to thank everyone who works at and is involved with
the centre. Organisations like yours do so much to help parents in our community and to give them hope.

While visiting the centre, I also had the opportunity to meet Sarah Richards, a Canberra-based Indigenous artist who showed me her striking painting which will now call the Perinatal Wellbeing Centre home. The painting is entitled You Are Not Alone. I will do my best to describe the painting and the story that Sarah shared with me.

The painting represents the journey of a new parent adjusting to life with a child. It starts in a darker section, describing the time before a parent can connect with the Perinatal Wellbeing Centre and with the community. In the middle of the artwork, there is a representation of that connection and being welcomed into the supports the centre offers, but it is not the end of the journey. From here, the parent moves to a lighter section, beyond the interaction with the centre, to a place where the parent is equipped with the knowledge and the tools they need on their journey into the future, while remaining connected to a network that can support them.

The Perinatal Wellbeing Centre, and other organisations like it, provide truly valuable support for parents in our community. And I am grateful for everything they do.

Ginninderra parkrun

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra—Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Business and Better Regulation, Minister for

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