As of 25 March 2021, new and expecting Mums across Toowoomba and the Darling Downs region have access to a clinically proven and highly successful program already operating in some of Queensland’s largest maternity hospitals.
Thanks to Ray White Toowoomba and Ray White Toowoomba Rural – sponsors of the program for the region – healthcare facilities, including Toowoomba Hospital, will be able to refer women experiencing or at risk of developing perinatal depression to White Cloud Foundation’s Meals for Mums program for some immediate and practical support.
Chair of White Cloud Foundation, Professor Adam Scott said the Meals for Mums program delivers practical mental health care to new and expecting mothers through the home-delivery of 14 free nutritious meals and access to support directly over the phone.
“Sadly, Queensland has the highest rate of perinatal depression in Australia and depression is the leading cause of death for women during pregnancy and the first year after giving birth,” Professor Scott said.
“At White Cloud Foundation, we are determined to change this statistic. We know a little support when a mother is struggling can make a big difference. Nutritious meals and practical help can mean a lot for not just new mums but the whole family.
“We have seen this first-hand from our well-established program working in hospitals throughout South East Queensland including RBWH, Caboolture, Redcliffe and Gold Coast University Hospital as well as Townsville Hospital and Tasmania’s Royal Hobart Hospital.
“Through this program, we also work with doctors, nurses, social workers and other allied health staff to identify mums who need some extra support and connect them with services that will be helpful for them.”
South-East Queensland Mum of two, Melissa Whittley knows all too well how important it is to have support during and after pregnancy.
“After my first two babies were born, I experienced post-natal depression which I describe as feeling like you’re in a big black hole – you feel very isolated and alone,” Melissa said.
“I would cry for no reason, I felt claustrophobic, I wanted to run away, I refused to eat, I didn’t want to get out of bed, and I tried to push my loved ones away. I found it hard to bond with my daughter and had the same feelings after William was born.
“Fortunately, I had an amazing support network of family and friends but not all families are so lucky and this where White Cloud Foundation’s Meals for Mums program can make a real difference.”
The service is also available for mothers who have lost babies before, during and after birth. Melissa recently raised money for White Cloud Foundation to help more Mums in need after her third son Ari tragically passed away, last April, at just 17 weeks.
“Through his legacy, I can raise awareness for something so many mothers experience,” Melissa said.
“I want them to know that what they are going through is completely normal and that there are people who care for them and want to help them.”
Professor Scott said perinatal depression is much more common than people realise and affects one in six new mothers and one in ten new fathers.
“Last year, our Meals for Mum’s program experienced a 66 per cent increase in referrals due to COVID-19, with 441 families supported, more than 520 referrals received and over 9,200 meals delivered,” he said.
“Mums are the foundation of our community and every single woman we help matters. We are pleased that from today Toowoomba and Darling Downs mothers have access to this program.”
White Cloud Foundation is proud to partner with public hospitals in South-East Queensland, Southern Tasmania, North Queensland and now the Darling Downs, to deliver a program, which is designed to complement clinical treatment.