It’s very common to feel overwhelmed and stressed during pregnancy or when looking after a new baby, so it’s a good idea to have a conversation with a trusted person. Sometimes mothers and fathers can find help in supportive friends, relatives or health professionals.
Often offloading fears and frustrations is all that is needed. And a good listener can be a great sounded board, someone who might be able to help you work through how you’re really feeling. Sometimes emotional and practical support is all that is needed. However, if you are worried, make an appointment with your early childhood nurse or GP as they will have the professional skills to support you or refer you to further help if necessary.
Accessing this help for Postnatal Anxiety and Depression can be daunting and sometimes difficult. The best place to start if you are worried about your feelings is with a health professional you trust. This might mean making an appointment to speak with your GP, your Early Childhood Nurse, or your midwife or Obstetrician.
Some parents find all they need is a conversation to validate their feelings and confirm that little babies can be exhausting work. Others may benefit more by being referred to a counsellor, psychologist or a psychiatrist.
Making the first approach to a professional is not always easy. If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to ask a friend or relative to make the call for you and, ideally, take them along to the first appointment.
Sometimes parents don’t seek help because:
Despite this, it is worthwhile persevering and finding the right help. Research has consistently shown that parents who receive timely professional counselling have the best chances of recovering more quickly from antenatal and postnatal anxiety and depression.
Professionals who can help with Postnatal Anxiety and Depression include:
These health professionals can assess parents for Postnatal Depression and can refer mothers and fathers to the following specialists if they require further support.
and in Sydney
Friends and family can help support families in many ways.
Emotional support: Take time to listen and acknowledge how the mother is feeling. Don’t minimise her feelings or tell her ‘to snap out of it’ or ‘get over it’. Don’t try to ‘fix’ her by offering solutions. While the crippling feelings will eventually resolve , the sufferer may feel they will never end. Let her know that you will be there for the journey and that while recovery can be slow, there is hope and in time she will feel better. Find out as much as you can about this illness – you may also need support. Support the mother in her treatment. Reassure her that she is not a ‘bad’ mother. She has an illness for which there is treatment. Try to avoid making big decisions at this time.
Practical help: Provide some meals (either home cooked or take away), help with housework, eg ironing, offer to do some shopping. Looking after the baby for a while can make a big difference to struggling parents – enabling them the opportunity to rest / spend time with each other / go to a doctors appointment etc. Offer to go to any appointment with the mother or father.
Self care takes many forms and might include:
First and foremost – Finding some time for yourself and some special time to share with your partner
Meeting up with friends for a coffee
A meal or a movie with your partner
Having a hair cut
A dinner with friends
Finding a group of mothers where you can spend time together and share your joys a well as your struggles.
PANDA’s national helpline is available to provide support and information to families experiencing perinatal anxiety and depression.
Callers are supported by someone who really understands how they are feeling and knows how to help them take the first step to recovery. Many of PANDA’s trained counsellors – a combination professional staff and peer support volunteers – have experienced perinatal anxiety and or depression themselves. You do not need a diagnosis of perinatal anxiety or depression to call PANDA. Partners, family member and or friends supporting a loved one with perinatal anxiety or depression can also call PANDA’s National Helpline. For more information visit >
Gidget House – North Sydney
34 McLaren Street
North Sydney NSW 2060
Tel: 02 9460 1550 0r 1300 851 758
Fax: 02 9460 1551
Gidget House – Randwick
146 Avoca Street
Randwick NSW 2031
Tel: 02 9460 1550 0r 1300 851 758
Fax: 02 9460 1551
The Gidget Foundation provides support for perinatal depression through Gidget House. Free professional psychological support services are available for pregnant women and new parents suffering anxiety and depression.
Located in North Sydney and Randwick, these facilities are easily accessible and provide compassionate holistic care for patients and their families. Our goal is to create a safe haven for parents, a single location where mothers and fathers are respected and the needs of each unique family are paramount.
Initially clinical services include psychological services with access to psychiatric and social worker referral. We are well networked with other services in the area enabling cross referral if required.
Payment for services provided by Gidget House are covered by Medicare bulk billing. A referral and a mental health care plan from a GP are required in order to access this funding.
Parents referred to Gidget House will receive:
Initial Assessment – meeting with the client to explore needs, concerns and solutions.
Individual therapy – one-to-one therapies or counselling for perinatal mental health issues.
Psychiatric support – where necessary – providing treatment for mental health disorders or referral to a psychiatrist.
Free Skype appointments — with a psychologist can also be accessed at Gidget House.
We welcome all parents who need access to specialised perinatal mental health care. Please contact our Practice Manager on 02 9460 1550 or email email@example.com for further information.
Gidget House does not provide crisis support. If you are in need of urgent help please call your local hospital or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
The Emotional Wellbeing Program is available to all pregnant women booked to have their baby at North Shore Private Hospital.
This program enables pregnant women to have a one hour appointment with a trained Gidget midwife to explore their feelings and emotional wellbeing and discuss their concerns regarding Postnatal Depression and Anxiety.
While pregnancy is generally an exciting time, it can also be a time of mixed emotions.
Our program is based on research that suggests an appointment such as this can help address any general questions, concerns or fears to prevent them developing into significant issues. While the conversation is always wide ranging, the midwife will also ask specific questions to enable her to assess emotional wellbeing. This includes looking at stressors and risk factors associated with anxiety and / or depression. The midwife is able to provide support and resources should a woman need them. The Gidget midwives work in conjunction with all obstetricians at North Shore Private Hospital.
Many pregnant women who attend this appointment do feel very happy and positive about their pregnancy. For these women, the interview is a unique opportunity to have a conversation about both the practical and emotional aspects of their lives. Gidget Midwives are able to discuss the expectations and the reality of life during this special time, providing professional insights and perspectives. It’s an opportunity to pause, reflect and plan for the next few months.
For further information or to make a booking please contact Julie Barron at Birthing Suite Receptionist, North Shore Private Hospital
t: 02 8425 3282 | f: 02 8425 3979
Thank you to the nib foundation who have made this program possible.
About the nib foundation
In 2008, nib heath funds established nib foundation – a not-for-profit charitable organisation – to support programs aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of all Australians.
nib foundation Chairman, Terry Lawler, said the delivery of the pilot program in the private health sector was a significant development for expectant mothers. “We are proud to be supporting the establishment of such an important health and wellbeing program for Australian mothers, that will help raise awareness and understanding of perinatal anxiety and depression,” Mr Lawler said. “All mothers deserve to receive this simple and effective screening process which can reduce mental health problems during the perinatal period, creating stronger families and better maternal and infant psychological outcomes,” he said.
Lifeline 13 11 14
Tresillian Family Care Centres
Provides guidance to new parents, a residential service, an outreach home-visiting service and support groups. Advice is also provided to parents through their phone service and through online support.
Parent Help Line – 1800 272 736
Provides residential units for mothers experiencing problems during the postnatal period, parenting services, and a home visiting service.
Careline – 1300 227 464
St John of God Health Care
A range of services are provided for mothers, fathers and babies including:
Mother and Baby Residential Care Unit (02) 9715 9200
Professional Support Service in Blacktown: Raphael Centre (02) 9839 0900
Perinatal Depression support website www.beatbabyblues.com.au
PANDA – Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia
The Black Dog Institute
Services you may find helpful
Mothers looking to connect with other mothers
Coaching packages for mothers (including pregnancy, early parenting and return to work)
Debra Close 0421 053 668 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate Wilkie 0478 121 777 or email@example.com
Kate Donohoe 0417 423 012
Mum and Bub Fitness Classes
Counselling for families with young children
Postnatal Depression – Better Health Channel
Depression After Delivery