Perinatal support will soon be offered to new and expecting fathers as part of a $26 million Federal Government funding boost aimed at better protecting the mental health of parents.

Health Minister Greg Hunt announced this week (Tuesday, February 12) the funding would be available as grants to organisations including the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS), Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA), and beyondblue.

Dedicated grants would be available for perinatal mental health support, perinatal loss, bereavement peer support and perinatal mental health promotion.

The grant applications, administered by the Department of Health, will open in the second half of the year, and will have a particular focus on supporting fathers and mothers.

One in 10 expectant and new fathers experience depression, anxiety and other forms of emotional distress in the perinatal period, while one in 10 women experience depression while pregnant, and one in seven women in the year following birth.

Minister Hunt said the funding would be of great benefit to parents who had experienced a still birth.

“Early parenthood and the impending birth of a child can be a joyous and a difficult time for both men and women. Sadly, stillbirth is one of the greatest tragedies that can happen to any family.

“Therefore, it’s important that appropriate mental health support is available for people who need help in coping with this huge change in their lives,” Mr Hunt said.

To find support in this area, go to SANDS, PANDA, and beyondblue.