Perinatal Mental Health
Perinatal (pre and postnatal) mental health is an area of interest of mine. I have completed perinatal mental health courses with the University of Sydney and the Centre for Perinatal Excellence (COPE). I am also a member of the Centre for Perinatal Psychology, the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health, Australasian Marcé Society and the World Association for Infant Mental Health. I am a PhD Candidate with the University of New England where my research is focused on birth experiences.
In 2021, I presented abstracts at the World Association for Infant Mental Health and The Australasian Marcé Tresillian Conference.
I currently offer Perinatal Psychological services in my private practice at Ballina and via telehealth. I am also a consultant with the Sustaining NSW Families program. I have previously worked with Tresillian Family Care Centre and Gidget House.
Some common issues I work with include, attachment/bonding concerns, birth trauma/PTSD, coping with feeding/sleeping/settling concerns, relationship and adjustment difficulties, work/family balance, poor support, coping with infant medical issues, anxiety about health or safety of your baby/postnatal OCD, depressed mood, and postnatal rage. I also work with families experiencing loss or fertility issues.
75% of women do not
seek help until they can no longer cope. So please, when in doubt talk to
someone involved with your healthcare. If you are concerned about yourself or loved one, talk to your GP or Maternal Health Nurse.
Risk factors can include but are not limited to: A previous history or family of mental health difficulties, difficulties/distress during the antenatal period, traumatic birth, birth disappointment, a troubled pregnancy or previous pregnancy loss, abusive/controlling behaviours and domestic violence in your relationship, a history of past abuse, financial difficulties, recent major life events/changes, a lack of support and high expectations either from yourself or others.
Symptoms to look out for:
- Persistent, generalised worry, often focused on fears for the health or wellbeing of baby
- Avoiding going out with your baby
- The development of obsessive or compulsive behaviours
- Changes in appetite: under or overeating
- Sleep problems unrelated to the baby’s needs
- Extreme lethargy: a feeling of being physically or emotionally overwhelmed and unable to cope
- Memory problems or loss of concentration (‘brain fog’)
- Loss of confidence and lowered self-esteem
- Constant sadness or crying
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Fear of being alone with baby
- Intrusive thoughts of harm to yourself or baby
- Irritability and/or anger
- Panic attacks
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Thoughts of death or suicide
My aim is to support you in exploring ways to facilitate satisfying parenting and a secure, loving bond between you and your baby. Treatment will focus on your concerns with whatever range of stressors, challenges, trauma or adjustment difficulties you may be experiencing, and will be tailored to fit your needs. Treatments may include cognitive, behavioural and mindfulness based approaches, self-compassion/compassion focussed therapy and interpersonal therapy. All treatment draws on evidence based therapeutic approaches and theories including attachment and infant development research.
Help and information is available!
Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia
Support line 1300 726 306
Pregnancy, Birth and Baby
Support Line 1800 882 436
The Centre of Perinatal Excellence
The Gidget Foundation (Promotes emotional well-being for new and expectant parents)
The Parent Infant Research Institute
Tresillian Family Care Centres
Support Line 1300 272 736
Online Support also available
What were we thinking – Monash University page with resources to cope with early parenting
What have you been doing all day? A great clip to watch with your partner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzoHT9TmuMI
Lactmed Drugs and Breastfeeding Database
Ready to COPE is a free fortnightly email that comforts and supports you emotionally during
your time as an expectant or new mother. There’s no talk of your baby’s development or sleep and settling. The focus is on you and the emotional challenges that you may experience.
Sign up here: http://cope.org.au/readytocope/
Watch the Ready to COPE info clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFw47kZL1O8
Mind the Bump
What were we thinking
Carddecks (for relationships)
Smiling Mind (Meditation)
How is Dad going?
For Aboriginal Dad’s
Info straight to your phone
If you have found other services or resources helpful, please let me know too.