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Australian parents share their emotional wellbeing tips

A recent survey of Australian parents by St John of God Health Care shows their top tips to maintaining good emotional wellbeing includes sleep, diet and exercise.

Australian parents were asked to share their most helpful tips to maintaining good emotional wellbeing during pregnancy and parenthood as a part of Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Awareness (PANDA) Week.

The results showed mums’ number one tip was eating a healthy diet, followed by making time to sleep and socialising with family and friends.

The dads’ responses also showed that sleep and diet were important but that exercise was on par with eating well.

St John of God Health Care perinatal mental health

Mums’ top six emotional wellbeing tips

  1. Eating a healthy diet
  2. Making time to sleep
  3. Socialising with family and friends
  4. Exercising
  5. Taking time out from parenting
  6. Speaking with a health professional

Dads’ top six emotional wellbeing tips

  1. Making time to sleep
  2. Eating a healthy diet
  3. Exercising
  4. Socialising with family and friends
  5. Taking time out from parenting
  6. Speaking with a health professional

Perinatal Mental Health Psychiatrist Professor Marie-Paule Austin says these tips are really helpful for new parents and were similar to what healthcare professionals recommended.

“It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of having a new baby and forget about the challenges that all parents face as they deal with little sleep, stress and learning how to parent,” she says.

“These tips, straight from people who have gone through this challenging time, provide really practical ways that parents can keep their emotional wellbeing in check.”

Professor Austin says while many simple tips can be helpful for parents, it was not uncommon to need a bit more help from professionals with up to one in seven new mums and one in ten new dads experience postnatal anxiety or depression.

“If you are worried about your emotional wellbeing during pregnancy or early parenthood, you can use the Mummatters online tool to assess your risk, get insights into your emotional wellbeing and use that information to start a conversation your GP about getting help,” she says.

“Your GP can help you identify what support and care would benefit you most. Support may include community care through services such as St John of God Raphael Services, which provide low or no cost perinatal mental health support for mums and families, or in hospital care such as St John of God Burwood Hospital’s Mother and Baby Unit.”

Prof marie paule.jpg
Marie-Paule Austin St John of God Health Care Chair Perinatal and Women’s Mental Health Research Unit

About the Author

Professor Marie-Paule Austin is the St John of God Health Care Chair Perinatal and Women’s Mental Health Research Unit, at the University of NSW, Sydney. She specialises in perinatal women's mental health and mood and anxiety disorders at St John of God Burwood Hospital.