Our other coronavirus time bomb
QUEENSLAND perinatal wellness experts predict an avalanche of postnatal depression cases in parents with infants and toddlers in future months because of the pandemic restrictions.
Brisbane-based charity Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness centre is already reporting an escalation in parents of babies and toddlers reaching out for help with anxiety because of COVID-19 isolation.
Community impacts of COVID-19 have widely affected businesses and families across the state, but pregnant women and new partners are particularly vulnerable to challenging emotional times.
Peach Tree has noticed a spike in anxiety among women and their partners.
Founder and chief executive Viv Kissane said pandemic restrictions were compounding the stresses of what was already a very challenging time.
"Levels of anxiety among expecting mothers, and those at home with young infants, have increased significantly during the course of COVID-19 and its related social restrictions," she said.
"Pregnancy, giving birth, and those early parenthood years are already stressful times in the life of mothers, partners, and families.
"The inevitable impact of COVID-19 has seen our families experiencing heightened stress, social and medical anxiety, financial crisis, and relationship conflict.
"We expect over the next 12 months to see a considerable increase of emotional vulnerability within our parenting community, including diagnoses of perinatal depression, anxiety and mood-related challenges.
"Enforced distancing from social connections, interactions and wider community supports for parents already relying on such services (eg mothers/partner groups, playgroups, library services, peer support groups, etc) will more than ever before impact heavily on parent and infant psychosocial and emotional wellbeing.
"It is so important for expecting and new parents experiencing emotional wellbeing challenges to remain connected to their community, and have safe places to receive support and ask for help when they need it most."
In the face of COVID-19, and with funding support from the Queensland Department of Health, Peach Tree has transitioned existing face-to-face service delivery to an online platform, including a designated 1800 PEACHY telephone support service.
All virtual services are peer-led, providing a safe space for parents to share concerns, seek solidarity, and receive empathetic connection with others who understand such perinatal hardship and challenge during difficult times.
Originally published as Our other coronavirus time bomb