The added burden of COVID-19 has exacerbated the challenges of having a medically high-risk infant in the hospital and at home. As a result, many Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) have been forced to cancel support groups and programs, and have banned the support of family and friends, only allowing one parent at a time to stay with the baby.
The experience of having an infant in the NICU, is traumatic, exhausting, and extremely fearful time for parents. Research and anecdotal experiences have shown that up to 60% of NICU parents suffer from varying degrees of mental health.
We already know that families are suffering from intense isolation and anxiety due to these restrictions that may last for weeks or months. The Canadian Premature Babies Foundation, CPBF, is addressing this emerging mental health crisis by offering online individual therapy to qualifying Canadian NICU families, focusing on those currently in the NICU or who have been discharged within the last 12 months.
Mental health professionals are offering each family two online sessions of 45 minutes each; the interventions offered are evidence-based and shown to be effective within limited time frames.
CPBF also launched an online real-time peer support group with a perinatal mental health specialist once a week. Due to the increasing demand for support required by NICU families, CPBF feels it is extremely important to increase the frequency of this group. To reach as many families from across Canada as possible, we are asking for your assistance to help us with the initiation of the emergency relief program and the expansion of the peer support program.
We will only be able to provide these programs with your support. Thank you!