$1.7 million to help new parents cope

Young children and new parents will benefit from a $1.7 million program to improve their wellbeing.

Young children and new parents will benefit from a $1.7 million program to improve their wellbeing.
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Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Adelaide health researchers are leading an Australian-first program designed to improve the mental health and wellbeing of new mothers and infants by combining nursing services and innovative new technology.

The program - New Technology for New Mums - will be undertaken by a team of clinicians and researchers from the University of Adelaide and the Child and Family Health Service, led by Professor Michael Sawyer.

The project will evaluate the effectiveness of combining web-based parenting support with existing nursing programs to help new mothers cope with parenthood.

More than $1.7 million has been pledged by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the SA Children, Youth and Women's Health Service and the SA Department of Health for the four-year program.

The project will identify the most useful web-based technology to help new mothers, followed up by a clinical trial involving 800 mothers to evaluate its effectiveness.

Professor Sawyer, from the Children's Research Centre at the University of Adelaide, says the program has the potential to help large numbers of young parents across the country.

"Most families are already regular users of the internet and seek information and support in a wide range of child-related areas," Professor Sawyer says.

"What is unique about our study is the way we are combining high quality, nurse-based support and carefully developed web technology to promote infant health and solve common parenting issues.

"Initial research has shown that within the next decade most families in South Australia will be using the internet to access parenting information and support.

"Our aim is to harness this trend and develop parallel, nurse-based support programs to maximise the benefits for families."

The Director of the Child and Family Health Service, Ms Kerrie Bowering, says this research will help health providers across the State to add value to the support services offered to families.

"As health providers, we need to be aware of, and support, changing trends in the way families are seeking parenting support," she says.

"Research such as the New Technology for New Mums program will better enable us to do this.

"Families are increasingly seeking information from web-based sources and the goal is to find the right balance between this and face-to-face services," Ms Bowering says.


Contact Details

Professor Michael Sawyer
Email: michael.sawyer@adelaide.edu.au
Head of Research and Evaluation Unit
Children's Research Centre
University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8161 7207

Mr David Ellis
Email: david.ellis@adelaide.edu.au
Website: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762