Each year, our educators work with an estimated 35,000 families in Australia to provide the First Touch Program and support parent-infant interactions. Since July 2016 we’ve started collecting data and feedback from some of those families about the impact the program has had on them. Over the past three months, this data has revealed a worrying trend, with 40% of parents completing the survey tool so far stating that they are battling feelings of significant isolation and loneliness. Without support or opportunities to find and build connections, isolation can wreak havoc with a new parent’s mental health.
Perhaps also worrying is that 60% of parents completing the First Touch Program with our educators say that the program was “far more useful” than other supports that they have received as a new parent. While that is positive feedback for our educators and our program as a whole, it does continue to highlight the gaps in the government and social care systems that are available to all families.
The data collection is in early days yest, so these trends may yet change as more data is gathered.