1 July 2021.
Possums & Co. Awarded Grant by Department of Health to Support the Mental Health of Expectant and New Parents
The charity Possums & Co. (Possums for Mothers and Babies Limited) has been awarded an $824,450 grant, announced by Minister Greg Hunt. This 3-year project, known as ‘NDC Rural’, will fund mental health support for expectant and new parents in regional, rural and remote Australia, and is part of the Emerging Priorities funding in the Commonwealth Government’s Perinatal Mental Health and Wellbeing Program.
Neuroprotective Developmental Care (NDC or ‘the Possums Programs’) offer innovative, evidence-based approaches to problems of breastfeeding, sleep, crying and fussing and parental mood in the first year of life. NDC integrates the latest research including in lactation science, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, sleep science, and attachment psychology with a set of powerful psychological strategies known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. The charity’s motto is ‘growing joy in early life!’
The perinatal period is a profound life transition, often filled with joy. But many new parents also find they face significant mental health challenges, including from the effects of exhaustion and sleep deprivation, breastfeeding problems or a crying baby. This is even more so when families are geographically isolated or have difficulty accessing services.
The NDC Rural project will provide 300 GPs and other health professionals in their local networks scholarships to participate in the Neuroprotective Developmental Care (NDC or ‘the Possums Programs’) Accreditation Pathway. Additionally, 3000 families who are patients of these practices will be able to participate in the Possums Parent Hub, which offers peer support, mentoring by other parents and a wealth of evidence-based resources for taking care of one’s baby and one’s own emotional well-being.
Medical Director of Possums & Co, GP and researcher Dr Pamela Douglas, says: “Our team is incredibly excited to have this opportunity to bring our education and peer support programs to regional, rural and remote Australia. We believe that by funding NDC Rural, the Australian Government is demonstrating its commitment to the vital role played by general practices and their local health professional networks in regional rural and remote Australia in the prevention and early identification of mental health challenges faced by new parents. The grant also acknowledges the importance of addressing the large amounts of conflicting and opinion-based advice new parents receive in order to help protect against anxiety and mental health problems; and the vital role of peer support in safe, non-judgemental and facilitated environments. We very much look forward to making a difference in the lives of parents and babies, through delivery of NDC Rural over the next four years.”
Please contact Rebecca Daniels (firstname.lastname@example.org) for enquiries or further information.