(Australian Associated Press)
More support services are on the way for new and expectant parents struggling with mental health issues or grieving the death of a child, amid a $26 million funding windfall.
The federal government is putting the money towards support and treatment services, to help reach parents doing it tough who might not be catered to by what is currently available.
That includes some new fathers, and families grieving the loss of a child, from a range of cultural backgrounds.
Promotion campaigns aimed at improving the mental health of new and soon-to-be parents will also be run through the funds.
The funds will be distributed to organisations as grants from mid-2019.
“The program aims to fill gaps in services to ensure the right supports are in the right place, at the right time,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
Some of the money will be used to help bereavement organisations ensure they have culturally-appropriate support and information for parents who have lost a child through stillbirth.
Ensuring such support is available was recommended by a senate inquiry last year.
Mr Hunt will announce the funding at a meeting focused on lowering Australia’s stillbirth rate in Canberra on Tuesday, bringing together medical professionals, researchers, advocates, health officials and political leaders.
The roundtable is the first of its kind and will focus on what research and public education is needed to prevent stillbirth, as six Australian children are stillborn each day.
“The roundtable will provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to start working on a new plan and new approach to drive down the stillbirth toll, which far exceeds the road toll,” Stillbirth Foundation Australia chief executive Kate Lynch said.
“For too long stillbirth has lacked national leadership, but with commitments from both major political parties in Canberra to address stillbirth, this is finally changing.”
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