When Jesse Price’s son was almost eight months old, she reached out to early parenting service Tresillian for sleep training.
After four sessions, Tresillian recommended the pair stay in Sydney for a few days, but Jesse wasn’t comfortable being away from her other children in Goulburn.
“It definitely would have been easier to navigate the stay if it was local,” says Jesse. “I desperately needed it and it’s such an amazing service.”
Cassandra Doughty, from Goulburn, and her nine-month-old son took part in a week-long residential stay with Tresillian in Sydney, but she says she can’t wait to access the local centre if she needs to when her next baby is born in October.
“It would have been such a blessing to have [Tresillian] in Goulburn as I could have got more support from my family and my partner,” says Cassandra.
Tresillian and the Gidget Foundation will open new Regional Family Care Centres in Goulburn, Cowra, Muswellbrook, Griffith, Armidale and Grafton.
The centres will offer services for parents of children aged from newborn to three for sleep and settling difficulties, adjustment to parenthood, breastfeeding, infant nutrition, toddler behaviour, multiple babies, emotional and psychological health and wellbeing, and anxiety and postnatal depression.
Currently, parents in Goulburn must travel to Sydney or Queanbeyan to access Tresillian services.
Tresillian’s director of clinical services integration, Deborah Stockton, says the not-for-profit organisation hopes to open the Goulburn centre by the end of 2021, and is currently looking for a location.
“Tresillian opened in southern Queanbeyan in 2019 and has been operating in partnership with the Southern NSW Local Health District,” she says. “During that time, we’ve developed a strong partnership with the local health district that has enabled us to talk about the other needs throughout the district, and where another family care centre would be best located.
“Goulburn kept coming up as an area where there was a real need for some additional support and specialist services for families in and around Goulburn so they didn’t have to travel.”
Travelling long distances with a newborn or toddler is stressful enough, let alone when the parents are struggling with sleep deprivation.
“The most common reason people visit Tresillian is for sleep difficulties,” says Deborah. “That means they’re exhausted on top of feeling overwhelmed so the thought of having to travel to access that type of support often means they don’t, and understandably so.”
Deborah says the Goulburn centre will be a warm and welcoming space.
“It won’t be clinical or hospital looking – it will be a family-friendly environment that parents will be able to visit and meet with our team of nurses,” she says.
“It might be for sleeping difficulties, but it also might be for feeding difficulties, toddler behaviour challenges or postnatal depression and anxiety.
“So as well as our team of nurses, who will be able to sit down and really unpack what’s happening for a family, we’ll also have a Gidget mental health clinician co-located with us to provide specialist counselling.”
Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman welcomed the centre and said it will be a vital addition to local support services and programs.
“Caring for a newborn doesn’t always go as expected and this centre will provide crucial expert care for mum, bub and the whole family when the going gets tough,” she said.
“We want parents right across the Goulburn electorate to feel supported to give them and their child the best start in life.”
Tresillian will be able to provide some home visits and group programs. All its services are free with a Medicare card.
“As we know, it takes a village to raise a child and it takes a team to support the different needs of a family,” says Deborah.
Purpose-built Tresillian2U vans will also travel to local communities from their bases in Queanbeyan, Kempsey, Tweed Heads, Bathurst and Inverell, and will offer further personalised care and support.
Tresillian is the largest early parenting service in Australia, while Gidget Foundation supports the emotional wellbeing of expectant and new parents.
Parents can access advice and support from a family health nurse by calling the Tresillian help line on 1300 272 736 between 7:00 am and 11:00 pm seven days a week.