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New program aims to help mums with postnatal depression

06-04-2017

A new treatment program which aims to help mothers suffering from postnatal depression will launch this month at The Sunshine Coast Private Hospital at Buderim.

The six week program will be delivered from the hospital’s Cooinda Mental Health Service and aims to help participants gain a better understanding of postnatal depression and learn strategies that can assist to alleviate its symptoms and prevent relapse.

Berquin Human, Senior Psychologist at The Sunshine Coast Private Hospital, said the program will help participants gain a deeper understanding of the factors that contribute to and prolong postnatal depression.

“Having a baby should be a happy experience. At least, that is what society expects and what many mothers demand of themselves,” Mr Human said.

“However, the reality is often quite different. Having a new baby, whether it is the first or third, is a major, life changing event and takes a lot of re-adjustment for everyone involved, but especially for mothers,” he said.

In the first couple of weeks after delivery, up to 80% of women will experience ‘baby blues’, which includes fluctuating emotions of sadness and anxiety. These feelings are due to the sudden change in hormones after giving birth and typically subside after a couple of weeks. However, recent research reveals that for about 15% of mothers these feelings worsen and develop into postnatal depression.

The onset of postnatal depression can occur anytime between six weeks and the first year after the birth of the child. Postnatal depression is a serious and debilitating condition that can lead to suicidal thoughts and result in an inability to care for the newborn baby.

“I encourage any mum who is struggling to talk to their GP because if they seek help, postnatal depression is very treatable and it’s possible to lift their depression and break the cycle of negative thinking, feeling and behaviour,” Mr Human said.

Wallis Westbrook, General Manager at The Sunshine Coast Private Hospital, said the hospital’s Cooinda Mental Health Service provides a comprehensive range of private mental health services, including outpatient day programs which are tailored to meet the needs of specific groups of people requiring expert help.

“I’m very proud of our mental health service and all the local people it has been able to help over the years – from new mums to veterans, the young and the old,” he said.

“To support the launch of this special program, we have ensured we have the facilities and equipment in place to allow mothers to bring their baby to these group sessions, including special child minding services so babies can be cared for onsite,” he said.

The Sunshine Coast Private Hospital has been serving the community since 1980 and is part of UnitingCare Health - one of the largest not-for-profit private hospital groups in Queensland which operates more than 1000 licensed beds across four hospitals.

The Sunshine Coast Private Hospital is now accepting referrals for this program. For more information, visit www.sunshinecoasthospital.com.au/postnataldepression