Parents of newborns and toddlers impacted by the current COVID restrictions can access a range of free virtual early childhood health services, thanks to a $348,000 NSW Government grant to Karitane.
Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the not-for-profit parenting support service has recorded its highest ever number of referrals in the last four weeks, many from parents struggling to cope with recent restrictions.
“It takes a village to raise a child, especially in those crucial first 5 years of life,” Mrs Taylor said.
“But the impact of COVID-19 has meant that many parents don’t have the in-person support of extended family, friends and neighbours, which can undermine their confidence as parents – as well as their wellbeing.
“This grant will allow Karitane to expand its virtual services to affected parents, including home visits, residential stays, breastfeeding clinics, mental health consults, toddler behaviour programs, playgroups and daily parenting workshops.”
CEO of Karitane Grainne O’Loughlin said many parents Karitane has heard from recently are feeling anxious and desperate.
“The latest restrictions have left many parents feeling alone, isolated and out of their depth. By providing help, support and social connection through our virtual services, we hope to provide some reassurance and hope,” Ms O’Loughlin said.
“Our experience through many years of delivering virtual care has proven that virtual care can be just as impactful as face-to-face care.”
With Karitane’s operations based in Fairfield – the Sydney suburb living under some of the toughest restrictions in NSW – its health professionals understand the challenges being felt by local families, some of whom face language barriers that can further compound feelings of isolation.
“We encourage families across NSW to get in touch with us, especially those in our nearby South West Sydney Local Government Areas – we are ‘open’ and here to help you every step of the way.”
“This is in addition to the recently announced joint Commonwealth and NSW Government COVID-19 mental health support package worth $17.35 million.”