What the service offers
At AnglicareSA, we understand that mothers who experience mental health challenges such as postnatal depression, anxiety, or personality disorders, can struggle to form a healthy attachment to their baby or toddler.
Acorn online groups provide an opportunity for mothers with diagnosed mental health difficulties to come together through a virtual platform and be supported in their relationship with their infant. The Acorn group is structured to strengthen the relationship between parent and infant through experiences of dance play, reflective group discussions and weekly support letter.
These online groups are facilitated by three specialist staff and clinicians and run for 12 weeks.
Who can access the service
Acorn Online Parent Infant Attachment groups are designed to complement, rather than replace, existing mental health supports.
A request for service can be made by health professionals for mothers with infants aged under 30 months whose diagnosed mental health difficulties impact on parent-infant attachment.
We currently deliver six Acorn online groups for mothers and infants living across metropolitan Adelaide and regional South Australia.
We also have a face-to-face group, Sacred Little Ones, in Adelaide’s south for Aboriginal families.
Direct quotes from participants when asked the question: what would you say are the most significant changes in your parenting and family life as a result of attending the group? “I understand my child’s needs a lot better. I’m more confident. I’ve learned a whole new, much gentler way of managing parenting challenges” — Lauren, Mt. Barker
“A safe place to express my thoughts and feelings and seek help when needed. It’s helped my social interaction. My baby has loved each component also. He has developed amazing social skills and confidence and finds it a lot of fun” — Elizabeth, Aldinga
“Focusing my attention on and playing with my daughter instead of getting distracted by things all the time like household chores. The bonding between my daughter and I. Feeling better about my ability as a parent, especially through the therapeutic letters I received” — Ali, Gawler
“Feeling better about myself & getting the emotional support I needed from others who have gone through very similar challenges to the ones I’ve faced throughout my life. My connection with my child gets stronger every day & I feel I can communicate my feelings to my husband with much greater confidence than ever before particularly in relation to the challenges I have faced with his anxiety & how it has affected our relationship” — Kate, Norwood
“I am a lot happier with myself and my parenting. I am more patient and understanding of my child’s needs and experiences” — Lucy, Darlington
Request For Service
You can also download our program flyer here.
Why Acorn works
There is a strong body of evidence based upon research and evaluation in support of Acorn being a valued and effective program able to make a difference in the lives of mums and babies across a diverse population.
Since November 2014, Acorn has been evaluated using a participatory action research approach (PAR) by Action Research Partnerships. This has included three evaluation reports and over 12 presentations of data findings periodically delivered to AnglicareSA staff and other stakeholders. Findings from the Acorn evaluation have also been presented and published through several conferences and papers in Australia and overseas.
The final Acorn evaluation report below presents findings from the first nine waves of Acorn (up to June 2019) focussing on the quantitative tools applied in the evaluation as well as qualitative data from participating mothers.