Sector News Technology — 19 November 2014

A new Not for Profit App that helps manage the stress of pregnancy and aims to reduce the risk of developing postnatal depression and other mental illnesses has been created by beyondblue and Smiling Mind.

Mind the Bump is free, clinically-based and described by the Not for Profits as the first mental health-related pregnancy App in the world to cover both the ante and postnatal period while featuring Mindfulness Meditation.

“Users listen to Mindfulness Meditations that directly address the different stages of the pregnancy and the postnatal period to reflect changing mental and emotional needs, from first stages of pregnancy through to when the child is 24 months old,” beyondblue said.

The App is designed to support not only new and expectant mothers, but new fathers and partners too.

beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman said Mind the Bump, which has been released in the App Store and on Google Play to coincide with Postnatal Depression Awareness Week (16-22 November), has the potential to transform thousands of lives through its accessibility and ease of use.

“At least one in seven women will experience postnatal depression and up to one in 10 will experience it during pregnancy,” Harman said. iphone-4-381203_1280

“Anxiety conditions are thought to be at least as common as depression during this time. Even for those who don’t experience mental health problems, pregnancy can often lead to feelings of uncertainty and fear.

“But with Mind the Bump, new and expectant parents need only a few minutes to listen to the guided meditations on their smartphones to start easing stress, clearing the mind and reducing the risk of developing a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety.”

The Not for Profits say Mind the Bump has been designed by mental health professionals and is based on extensive research showing the benefits of ‘mindfulness’, which is the process of not worrying about the past or future and instead paying attention to the present moment with purpose and without judgement.

The meditations, some of which are voiced by Network Ten’s Carrie Bickmore, include titles such as Acceptance and Managing Change and run for between three and 10 minutes each.

Psychologist and Smiling Mind Ambassador Liv Downing, who helped develop the program, said the App offered something for anyone embracing parenthood.

“The practice of Mindfulness and Mindfulness Meditation allows new and expecting parents to ride the waves of change that inevitably come with this life stage with more grace and ease, and less fear and worry,” Downing said.

“It is in this way that the App, which can be used as little or as often as people like, provides a sound platform for the nourishment of family relationships through building compassion for self and others. And by teaching acceptance, the App can help parents cope better with the many pressures they will face, from lifestyle changes to a crying baby.”

This article first appeared with ‘Pro Bono Australia’ on 18 November 2014.

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