If you’re experiencing emotional distress around childbirth, then please know that there’s a lot of help available. And you’re not alone. I was there too and so were many other wonderful, loving, caring mums and dads.
This is Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Awareness Week and I’d like to throw my strong and loving support behind two wonderful organisations:
PANDA – Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia which has a marvellous website and phone line, see below.
The Gidget Foundation – a Sydney-based awareness and support organisation, also with a terrific website plus Gidget House. (See my story on the inspiring, highly emotional Gidget Lunch earlier this year.)
Anxiety and depression are treatable!
They are also life threatening. I really do believe my life has most been in danger during my darkest period of depression. And I write that as a women who’s regularly dived and swum with sharks!
It’s not a funny subject though. Big hugs to anyone in distress and please never hesitate to get in touch.
I’m posting here an extract of the book I co-authored, Beyond The Baby Blues.
This is the section with all the resources in Sydney and throughout NSW.
Thanks to Jane Curry and the team at Ventura Press for permission to publish it here.
Where To Find Help For PND in Sydney and NSW
The PANDA Helpline can provide up to date listings of support groups, therapy groups and resources in NSW: 1300 726 306.
The Black Dog Institute has information and a list of NSW resources on its website here.
The Gidget Foundation website also has resources on its website.
Perinatal mental health — support and resources
The Gidget Foundation promotes awareness of perinatal anxiety and depression amongst women, families, health providers and the community. The Gidget website has personal stories, information sheets and information about awareness campaigns. The Gidget Foundation has links with many carer and medical groups in Sydney and runs workshops and research projects. It was a partner with PANDA in producing the DVD Behind The Mask: The Hidden Struggle of Parenthood.
Gidget House was opened in 2013. Located in North Sydney, Gidget House offers no cost integrated care and support services to parents experiencing or at risk of perinatal anxiety and depression.
Tresillian — Perinatal anxiety and depression therapy programs
(see Tresillian below)
The Tresillian Family Care Centres at Canterbury and Wollstonecraft hold regular perinatal anxiety and depression therapy group programs. Women are referred to the groups from a health professional, such as their local doctor or child and family health nurse. Pre-group interviews are conducted with each woman by the group facilitator.
Karitane — Jade House
(see Karitane below)
Services offered include: individual and couple therapy, psychiatric help, day stay, parenting and child development information, mother-infant therapy groups, anxiety-management groups, postnatal issues groups. Jade House is for women and their families living within the Sydney South West Area Health Service (SSWAHS).
Beat Baby Blues
The St John of God Hospitals (SJOGH) in Burwood and Richmond have been helping mums and mums-to-be since 1984.
SJOGH is the largest not-for-profit provider of mental health care in NSW and runs a mother and baby unit at its Burwood Hospital and day care support at its Richmond Hospital.
The Beat Baby Blues website provides general information on perinatal depression and its treatment as well as information about the in and outpatient services offered by SJOGH.
NSW Mental Health Association
02 9339 6000
1300 794 991 (Information service)
1300 794 992 (Anxiety Disorders Information)
Level 5, 80 William Street, East Sydney NSW 2011
The NSW Mental Health Association provides an anonymous and free telephone and email Information Hotline during business hours. Qualified staff are able to assist by tapping into a specialised database which can help you find solutions to your problems. There are also groups and self-help programs available.
Parenting support and resources
1300 227 464 (24-hour careline)
Cnr The Horsley Drive & Mitchell Street, Carramar NSW 2163
Karitane has been providing parenting services to families of children up to five years since 1923 and has centres in Sydney’s western and eastern suburbs. There are Family Care Centres in Liverpool and Randwick, and a Residential Family Care Unit at Carramar. Jade House in Fairfield Heights is a specialised day stay and counselling unit for women who have a diagnosis of a perinatal anxiety or depression or are at risk.
Karitane is a very large organisation with many programs and groups. These include: advice for new parents, group and individual counselling, a psychologist available for CBT, day stays for feeding, settling, and parenting issues, a postnatal depression group, residential stays and a toddler behaviour clinic.
The Karitane Careline is open 24 hours every day and is staffed by experienced child health nurses who can answer questions on child health and wellbeing and offer advice on many aspects of parenting.
Raphael Centre, Blacktown
www.sjog.org.au – look at Other Services – Raphael Centres
This centre offers parenting advice and support to mothers and fathers, plus mental health support and services.
02 9787 0800
02 9787 0855 (24-hour Tresillian Parent Helpline — Sydney)
1800 637 357 (24-hour Tresillian Parent Helpline — Freecall outside Sydney)
Tresillian Canterbury Head Office
McKenzie Street, Belmore NSW 2192
Tresillian Family Care Centres are located in Canterbury, Nepean, Willoughby and Wollstonecraft and provide a wide variety of services for the families. The Tresillian 24-Hour Parent Helpline provides advice and referral to families throughout NSW and there is a live online support service available on the website. Tresillian provides support to families with children aged up to the age of five years only.
Services offered from the centres include: outreach, parenting programs, day stay, residential stays, and occasional and long daycare in the Wollstonecraft centre.
Some area health services have specific support for Aboriginal families, eg the South East Sydney Area Health Service, call 02 9319 5823. Contact your local area health service to ask.
The Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney has an Aboriginal child and family health nurse, call 02 9382 6783.
NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service
02 9816 0346
Old Gladesville Hospital
Punt Road, Gladesville NSW 2111
The MHCS provides translations of a range of health information, including leaflets on mental health in pregnancy and after birth.
NSW Transcultural Mental Health Centre
02 9840 3800
5 Fleet Street, North Parramatta NSW 2151
THE TMHC provides clinical services, health promotion, publications and education and training. It is a statewide service, promoting wider access to mental health services for people of cultural and linguistic diversity background.
Family and carer support
ARAFMI – Mentral Health Carers Support
1800 655 198
Mental Health Carers NSW provides support, advocacy and education for carers of those with a mental illness of any sort.
02 9280 4744
1800 242 636 (toll free)
Roden Cutler House
Level 18, 24 Campbell St, Sydney NSW 2000
Carers NSW provides counselling, advice, advocacy, education and training for carers. The National Carer Counselling Program is managed by Carers NSW. Carers can receive six free counselling sessions from a professionally trained and qualified counsellor either in person or by telephone. More general telephone support and counselling is available at any time on the telephone number above.
Other state-based helplines and support services
NALAG (Association for Loss and Grief) NSW
02 9988 3376
NALAG (NSW) Inc provides education and support for those suffering loss, grief and bereavement across NSW. NALAG has centres and branches all over NSW. The helpful website has lots of information and resources.
No-one should parent alone and no-one should feel distressed or unwell alone.
Let’s keep talking about perinatal anxiety and depression – this week and every week.
If you need a friend to call or get out for a stroller walk with, just email me on seana at seanasmith dot com
You’ve got a friend, you’ve got thousands.