During my Postnatal Depression journey I’ve come across, and used, many services that I’d like to mention and give thanks to. I’d never be at the point where I am now and so quickly after being diagnosed without each of their help. Being from the UK, I had no prior knowledge or experience of the services available in Australia. I live in Sydney and these are the services I have used:
Early Childhood Health Centre: I think of this as the base, a safe place to go for any issues, whether it’s your child or your own. It’s a great place to find out about your local services. I found my local Early Childhood Health Nurse to be a godsend. She has ensured I made the best steps towards my recovery. She has gone out of her way to make sure I’m ok and I’ll forever be grateful for that.
My Family Doctor: A good GP is not easy to come by and I consider myself extremely lucky to have found mine. Since being diagnosed with PND she has made sure to check in with me on a weekly basis. This has been a good way for me to stay on track and ensure that I continue towards better health.
The Gidget Foundation: This is a place where I was able to access a psychologist with a specialist knowledge of the perinatal period. She has been a huge support to me and helped me through some of the darkest points in my recent life. I’d recommend the Gidget Foundation and talking to a psychologist to anyone experiencing PND.
Tresillian: I’ll go into my residential stay at Tresillian in more detail on another post but I can say it was life changing. I was lucky to get a place at just the right point in my recovery. When I was well enough to accept help and learn from the nurses. I’ll never forget the experience. Tresillian also offer free phone support (1300 2 PARENT) and have an online chat facility on Facebook.
Mothersafe: MotherSafe provides a counselling service for women and their healthcare providers concerned about medications and prescription drugs during pregnancy and breastfeeding. I have never rung them but my GP and husband have on my behalf and they have both applauded their help and knowledge.
Family Day Care Centre – Dalwood: Here I was able to access help and support for my son’s sleeping. Additionally, I was able to participate in a Being Mums group therapy program – this was a massive relief to be able to share my experiences with fellow mums, who were also struggling. An honest and friendly place where we learnt techniques to handle the stress and and anxiety that comes with parenthood.
St John of God – Burwood: Here I was able to access a Medicare funded Perinatal Psychiatrist. There is also a The Mother and Baby Unit at the hospital, which is the only inpatient unit in NSW providing specialised care for mothers experiencing perinatal depression, anxiety and other related conditions.
Royal North Shore Hospital Physiotherapy: This is not a direct link to my mental health but something that has greatly helped my physical body recover from a quite traumatic birth. I have been able to access the physiotherapy and hydrotherapy that I needed, which has helped me become stronger and more able to look after my son.
Beyond Blue: This is an invaluable resource for anyone with Depression or Anxiety. I’ve used the website on many occasions to access information and support during my recovery. They also have a phone line to listen, provide information and advice, and point you in the right direction of further support – 1300 22 4636.
Black Dog Institute: This website has also been a great resource for information. They have a section dedicated to Pregnancy & Postnatal Depression. This includes information on the symptoms as well as the treatments. There are also some personal stories from suffers which help to see that you’re not alone.
In a country where you sometimes have to pay for services, these have all been free or covered under Medicare.
Those were just the ones I’ve used personally. I also know of:
Lifeline: 13 11 14 Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Karitane: 1300 227 464 They work with children and their parents from birth to 5 years of age. Their services cover parenting support and advice, antenatal support and education, parental depression and anxiety, toddler behaviour.
Parent line: 1300 1300 52 Parent Line is a telephone counselling, information and referral service for parents of children ages 0 to 18 who live in New South Wales.
PANDA: 1300 726 306 Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia provide a telephone information, support and referral service, which is staffed by trained volunteers, professional counsellors and supervising staff. Most of these volunteers on the helpline have experienced perinatal depression and anxiety.
Acute Care team: 9477 9520 Acute Care team provides home-visit based clinical services. These include mental health assessments and short-term interventions in response to mental health crisis or emergency situations; as well as care coordination for people with longer-term chronic mental illness.
Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511 This is the NSW state crisis number for people seeking immediate advice on a mental health issue. The line is staffed by mental health professionals allowing you to access expert mental health advice, support and referrals.
*As I come across more I will update this post.
Although it can seem daunting reaching out – we definitely thrive better when we work together with others. Remember the services are there to be used. Don’t feel you’re not worthy or that things aren’t bad enough. You are as entitled as any other parent out there. We all have our own stories, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. When I did, I realised how much easier it made my life and I wondered…
Why do we think it’s brave & noble to suffer alone? The really brave thing to do is to accept help.
“If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, please contact Lifeline immediately 13 11 14”