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Stress anxiety depression

​​​​​Let's talk about mental health

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Having a baby is often an exciting and rewarding time for families; parents may experience a range of feelings from happiness and excitement to stress and worry. However, sometimes these negative feelings can change into perinatal anxiety and/or depression. These mental health symptoms can include feeling scared or panicky for no good reason, not coping as you would normally, feeling so unhappy that you have had difficulty sleeping and/or thoughts of harming yourself or your baby. 

If you or your partner is experiencing any of these feelings it is very important to seek professional help from your local GP and/or child and family health nurse for ongoing support, treatment options and referrals.

Child and family health nursing have a specialised service, the extended parenting service, staffed by highly trained child and family health nurses and psychologists and social workers, who can work in partnership with you to address your concerns with mental health and/or child behaviour issues.


In cases of emergency call 000 or go to your local hospital's Accident and Emergency Department.


Concerned you or someone close to you may be experiencing domestic and family violence?


'When There are More Bad Days Than Good'


​Mental health support for parents

 Tips for self care

As a parent we are always considering our baby’s needs.

It is important to think about what makes us feel good as well.

This will be different for everyone, here are some suggestions you can try and you may find that some might work for you.

We have divided them into Body, Mind and Soul.



  • Going for a walk with the baby in a pram, depending on how you are feeling, you could make it a brisk walk
  • Go to a mum’s and bub exercise class
  • If exercise is your thing, meet with other mum’s and do some stair climbs and share the care of the babies.
  • Go to the pool with others and share the care of the babies and do some laps
  • Consider what you put into your body because food can affect our mood
  • Be creative in the kitchen while your partner or trusted one is caring for your baby


  • Do a puzzle
  • Listen to an audio book or a pod cast about something unrelated to your current experience
  • Go to a movie where they provide a room or theatre for parents and babies
  • Tag team parenting with partner allowing time away from baby, at a time that works for you, maybe start off with a short period
  • Have a date with your partner: take-away with candles, brunch at favourite café


  • Listen to your favourite music, dance or sing out loud
  • Face time a caring friend or family member
  • Get out of the house and go to a friend’s house
  • Dive into the water
  • Spend time in a green space or natural environment such as bushland, park or beach
  • Draw or sketch
  • Practice mindfulness, there are Apps for this to help you (see Useful Resource Page)
  • Meet up with other’s from a parenting group
  • Practice yoga at home or in a class
  • Cuddle your partner
  • Stay at home and have a relaxed day
  • Listen to your thoughts: are they kind to you, because we are all doing the best we can
  • Meet up with a friend in a café
  • Sit down and have a hot cup of tea
  • Have a hot shower or bath
  • Go for a walk before or after your partner leaves for work
  • Talk to your partner or someone you trust about how you are feeling
  • Laugh out loud, you can’t get it right all the time (and what is right anyway?) and do you know your baby doesn’t need that. Remember you are learning and that is great!!
  • Treat yourself like you would treat a very good friend.

Finally, if you feel like you are not able to find enjoyment in the usual things or you are just not feeling yourself or feeling not right, it is important to find someone who you can trust and talk to them.

You can also find a health professional such as an Child and Family Health Nurse who can talk with you and help you get the right help. The earlier these feelings are addressed the sooner you can feel more like yourself again​

 Classes for prenatal and postnatal mums

Northern Sydney Local Health District Health Promotion Classes for Prenatal and Postnatal Mums

Aqua - Prenatal and Postnatal

Low intensity & low impact classes of movement in a supported water environment.

Gentle exercises in the pool to help prevent back pain, encourage better posture and maintain health and muscle strength during pregnancy or following birth.

Yoga - Prenatal and Postnatal

Gentle exercise to strengthen and stretch, improve and maintain health and fitness during pregnancy, or to help you get back into shape following birth.

Postnatal Physiotherapy Exercise

Gentle re-introduction to exercise following the birth of your baby, after your 6 week postnatal check-up. Babies welcome! The pilates-informed exercises aim to strengthen the part of your body most affected by pregnancy and childbirth (including posture, pelvic floor, abdominals, whole body flexibility and back care). They are designed to encourage everyday practice with or without your baby.

Infant Massage

Learn how to massage your baby. A 4 week course led by an IAM qualified Infant Massage instructor. Develop your skills to understand your baby through loving touch and communication. Learn skills to help you relax your baby and yourself. You can also learn tips to assist in the relief of symptoms of colic etc.

To Enrol

Enrolments via website:


Completed Medical Clearance Forms essential for exercise classes – please see website to download a form.

 Dads Need Support Too

​For many new dads the sudden responsibility of caring for a newborn, expectations of providing financial support and the drastic change in lifestyle can take a toll.

Research shows one in seven new dads can experience levels of psychological distress while adjusting to fatherhood, and one in 10 first-time fathers develops postnatal depression.


SMS4dads recommends a number of resources for dads. All resources are publicly available however, some information from the resources may be challenging, unconventional, or may not fit your situation. SMS4dads encourages you to bear this in mind when accessing the recommended sites and to seek clarification from health professionals if necessary.


Guide for dads:


Other Links:


 Where Can I Get Help?

Beyond Blue Information and support for Mental Health
PANDA www.pand​ Perinatal Anxiety and Depression support
COPE - Centre of Perinatal Excellence Providing support for the emotional challenges of becoming a parent
COPE - Motherhood isn't always easy​ Sign up to receive​ free supportive emails ​Providing support for the emotional challenges of becoming a parent
Relationships Australia Relationships support, counselling services
Tresillian Organisation providing Parenting Advice/Support
Karitane Organisation providing Parenting Advice/Support
Parentline 1300130052 Phone support for parenting. CatholicCare Program
Family Connect and Support Family Connect and Support brings together families, support services and community resources so that our children and young people are safe and well.
Men's Referral Service Ph: 1300 766 491 ​Live Chat- This is My Chance To Change
​Embrace - Multicultural Mental Health
multilingual-information Multilingual Information on Mental Health

 Parent Wellbeing Quiz (Edinburgh Post Natal Depression Screening Tool)

Many women experience mixed emotions during pregnancy and early parenthood. But some women are more likely to experience emotional difficulties at this time, especially if they've experienced mental health conditions in the past.

Visit Perinatal mental health questionnaires page here and make contact with a health professional for further assistance, advice, assessment and/or referrals. ​​