Blooms The Chemist Windsor Riverview launches perinatal depression, anxiety support service

Expectant and new mums and dads can now drop in to their local Blooms The Chemist to gather information about perinatal depression and anxiety, following the launch of a new partnership between the chemist chain and the Gidget Foundation of Australia, at Blooms Windsor Riverview on Friday.

Theresa Nguyen, pharmacist and partner at Blooms Windsor Riverview, said every store had staff trained in mental health first aid, including what to do in a crisis situation, and providing information about perinatal depression and anxiety was an important part of the service.

"For new parents, they sometimes don't know where to go [for help]," Ms Nguyen told the Gazette.

"When I had my first child I found my obstetrician didn't ask about my mental health, being more focused on my physical health, and even midwives are more focused on physical recovery."

She said she had experienced "a few" new mums with whom she already had a rapport, come into the chemist and ask her for help on the topic.

"My mum experienced perinatal depression when she had me," Ms Nguyen said.

"Then when I was breastfeeding, I didn't have enough breast milk, so ever since then I've had an attraction to supporting the Gidget Foundation.

"I think a lot of mums and dads go through perinatal depression and anxiety and they don't say anything to anyone about it."

The Gidget Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that assists thousands of expectant and new parents and their families each year by providing psychological counselling services through its Gidget House face-to-face services, Start Talking telehealth program and Emotional Wellbeing antenatal screening programs conducted through participating hospitals.

Arabella Gibson, Gidget Foundation CEO, said every Blooms store throughout Australia would be fundraising for the foundation during November, and would sell the new Bunny Bounces Back book, the latest addition to the popular Bunny Books series.

The Bunny Books are a series of books written for parents to read to young children, with psychological strategies to help parents struggling with perinatal depression and anxiety, with all proceeds going to the Foundation.

Ms Gibson said it made sense for chemists to be able to provide information and resources for expectant and new mums and dads, as well as families who may have a loved one who needs help.

"One in five new mums and one in ten new dads experience perinatal depression or anxiety, and 50 per cent of new parents will experience adjustment disorders," Ms Gibson said.

"Mums and dads will quite often come to a chemist when they're experiencing issues - they're on the ground and perfectly-placed to help. It's about early detection, and these chemists are such a part of the community, it's the perfect alignment [between the Gidget Foundation and Blooms chemists]."

Blooms Windsor Riverview and other Blooms stores in the area will now also stock a range of pamphlets and flyers with important information about perinatal depression and anxiety, including factsheets with typical signs to look for, as well as how to bring up the topic with a loved-one.

"Quite often we find grandparents and the extended family are impacted, so if you think you know someone who is experiencing signs of perinatal depression or anxiety, the Bunny Bounces Back book is fabulous - to help you identify who you know in your network who is at risk, and also how to listen, which is really important," Ms Gibson said.

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