New play equipment for Helen Mayo House

Families at Helen Mayo House (HMH) now have a range of new play equipment to help strengthen bonds with their babies.

HMH is an inpatient facility for new parents experiencing significant mental health problems.

There are three important aspects of care at HMH: supporting parents during perinatal mental health crisis, supporting the ongoing growth and development of baby while their parent is receiving treatment for their mental health, and supporting the bond and relationship between parent and baby during this time.

When parents come to HMH, they can lack confidence in their ability to parent and feel isolated from family and the general community. Their baby’s development can be at risk of being delayed due to not receiving the expected interaction from their parent. There can also be a disconnect between parent and baby, leaving baby’s need for healthy attachment unfilled, which can lead to long-lasting issues, and sometimes contributes to intergenerational trauma.

Newly purchased equipment will promote positive parent-baby interaction and encourage play in group and one-on-one therapy programs, supporting families in the following ways:

  • Board books with rhyming, simple repetitive stories and Aboriginal stories for language development, relationship building and connection to culture
  • Climbing/play equipment for baby’s physical development, confidence building and circle of security practice
  • Yoga equipment for self-care, physical fitness and improved mental health
  • Musical instruments for playing music together, learning and emotional regulation
  • Feeding equipment for transition to feeding solids, building parent confidence and safe feeding education
  • Messy play equipment for exploring senses, learning, emotional regulation and relationship-building
Leanne Norman with a selection of the equipment purchased for Helen Mayo House.

Leanne Norman with a selection of the equipment purchased for HMH.

Leanne Norman is a peer specialist at HMH. She has her own lived experience of postnatal depression and has been able to share this with families to support them during their admission.

She says, “This equipment will allow us to meet families’ needs by increasing our existing group program.”

“Mums will benefit from improved relationships with their babies, building confidence in their parenting ability and skills, greater education and learning about parenting and responding to babies needs and improved mental health.”

“Babies will develop through play and learning, as well as improved relationships and secure attachments with mum.”

The generous support of BIG W staff and customers across South Australia has made this possible.

Funds raised through the 2023 BIG W Christmas token campaign are now supporting families at Helen Mayo House with these new toys, as well as the introduction of a dance-movement therapy program.

Learn more about our corporate partnerships 

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