Eligible parents in the south west are now getting parenting help via an innovative in-home based service. For the past two years, the program has been piloted through many towns in the south west. Families are referred to the service by their Child Health Nurse if they need extra support. The first few years of children’s lives are key to their development and provide a lasting foundation. This time can also be overwhelming for families who are adjusting to a new way of life and may not have a support network around them. Roxahn Goodall, who reached out to the service when her baby was just 6 weeks old said, “We were referred by our Child Health Nurse (CHN) after I was diagnosed with postnatal depression and anxiety as well as having the stresses of having my husband off work due to a long term work place injury. Being first time parents, we were unsure of some things and needing a little guidance with our beautiful daughter”. “We were going through a particularly hard time and all I could think was that we wanted the best for our daughter no matter what, and asking for help was the first step to get the support and guidance we needed.”
Roxahn and her husband Grant have taken advantage of the program and been hands on in learning to be the best possible parents for their daughter. The GP down south Parenting Support Program has provided them with encouragement and skills to build a connection and bond between mum, dad and daughter. One of the major woes new parents face is dealing with sleeplessness. This can make the difference between enjoying the first few months or feeling completely overwhelmed and helpless. The Parenting Support staff helped the Goodalls to learn good sleep routines to assist the whole family feel more able to function. When they were not able to access other services due to wait lists and costs, the GP down south staff member returned immediately to help initiate a gentle sleep training program that worked for the whole family. “In everything Jill has helped us with she has shown understanding care and willingness to accommodate our wishes to make everything as gentle and nurturing as possible.” Said Roxahn. “To be honest I’m not sure what we would have done if we didn’t have the amazing support of Jill and GP down south… there is only so much you can google before you become overwhelmed. It has improved our relationship as we are both on the same page when it comes to how we are going to deal with and approach parenting and I’m just so excited that I can now put Rylee down for her morning or night sleep knowing I’m not fighting the anxiety of anticipating the next 45 min of crying and still not get her down! I know it now takes me under 10 minutes with no crying or having her upset to sleep in her own room or cot.” “It’s made me feel more confident in my ability as a parent and shown me that it’s okay to ask for help and support that I might need. I have also learnt not to be so hard on myself or as critical on my parenting as I’m doing everything in my power to raise a happy healthy and loving little girl “
Photo credit: Pricilla Du Preez
GP down south is an exemplary not-for-profit community organisation. We have been providing health and wellbeing services in the Peel regions and the South West of WA since 1994.