Postnatal Depression Support in Brisbane
You may hear those first few months of parenthood described as twilight months. Not night, not day, just constant grey as you wake and sleep and eat in no particular order. If you’re doing it alone, or at least without a strong support network, the walls can feel like they’re closing in – and then depression sets in. First, know that it’s terribly common – far more common than you would think. It’s not a personality or parenting flaw either – it’s a medical condition that is treatable. There are plenty of options for postnatal depression support in Brisbane, from a visit to your GP to residential care.
First steps in getting help with PND
Brisbane has plenty of amazing resources for parents (yep, dads get it too!) struggling with postpartum moodiness or depression. If you suspect your “baby blues” are worsening, there are good options to get free information for Brisbane mums.
Pregnancy Birth and Baby Helpline – 1800 882 436
24/7 telephone helpline and online service for Australian parents.
PANDA – Post and Antenatal Depression Association – 1300 726 306
PANDA is a specialist organisation dealing specifically with pregnancy related mood disorders. They provide phone based counselling and online information. They also provide in-home services including a friendly chat and cup of tea or help with day to day tasks.
Beyond Blue Helpline – 1300 22 4636
Beyond Blue offers a comprehensive depression and anxiety support service, not just to new parents. Their website has excellent information.
Your GP or specialist psychologist
Your GP can help with information, referrals and medical intervention. These days there are plenty of medications available for treating postnatal depression but if you are breastfeeding or disinclined to try medication, your GP may refer you a psychologist specialising in the area you need. Generally your GP will refer you to:
- Cognitive Behaviourist specialising in avoiding negative thinking and feeling overwhelmed
- Interpersonal Therapist specialising in dealing with problems in relationships
- Behaviourist specialising in generating a more positive and optimistic attitude
- Mindfulness Therapy which is generally group therapy based on meditation and embracing positivity in “the moment”
Your natural practitioner
There are a host of herbal remedies associated with the treatment of depression. If you subscribe to alternative therapies, your practitioner may be able to make recommendations.
There are also countless “support networks” and baby health drop in centres around Brisbane. These may allow you to get information, talk with a counsellor, get referrals and even have a quick nap while a midwife cares for your baby. Mother’s groups may also help you feel reconnected and less isolated. Sometimes a little tea and sympathy can go a long way!
Inpatient Intervention – for when Postpartum Depression begins to take over
If you are starting to feel overwhelmed by depression and experience any of these symptoms, there are excellent options available for improving your mood and your situation:
- Low self-esteem or confidence
- Feeling guilty or inadequate
- Focus on negative thoughts and events
- Feeling angry or resentful
- Fear of being alone with your baby
- Feeling of being outside the home with the baby
- Withdrawal and self-neglect
- Feeling exhausted (this is a symptom of parenthood!)
- Poor concentration, appetitive or sleep
- Thought of self-harm, harming the baby or wanting to “escape”
The first step is always to see your GP. Not only because it’s the quickest way to seek help but also because may of the more advanced treatment options require a referral letter.
What happens when you and your baby become inpatients?
Inpatient services for postnatal depression treatment in Brisbane usually involve you staying in a private room with your baby where both of you learn skills to “ help each other out”. Depending on the clinic you choose (and your GP will have more details) you may do workshops on sleeping and settling where a midwife will demonstrate how to help your baby when she’s fussing, and help your baby to settle off to sleep. You may also get help overcoming feeding issues that are causing your baby to be upset or difficult and you’ll also have some lovely sleep time. Often breaking the exhaustion cycle is half the challenge.
In addition to this, some parents will see a psychologist while the midwives care for their babies. This is designed to help you address some of the underlying issues of the depression and recognise symptoms as they come up – so you can nip them in the bud.
Ellen Barron Family Centre at The Prince Charles
Ellen Barron Family Centre provides inpatient support with sleep and settling, feeding, development and behavioural issues for families with children up to age three. Families can stay as private or public patients however long waiting times may apply to public patients. You’ll learn about the positive parenting program and also the Circle of Security program where you gain insight into your baby’s moods and how to help. A trained midwife will determine the cause of sleep disruptions or feeding issues with your baby and then help you to recognise issues and manage them. Learn more here.
Brisbane Centre for Post Natal Disorders at Belmont Private Hospital
Belmont Private is not a free service but offers a broad selection of postnatal depression treatments. From full hospital stays to services where midwives help care for your baby showing you strategies to help you manage better to outpatient Day Patient Program where you can meet with a behavioural therapist to help you feel better and then learn strategies for helping your baby sleep better. Learn more about it here.
Ramsay Metal Health Services – New Farm Clinic, Greenslopes Private Maternity
New Farm Clinic and Greenslopes Private Maternity are both private hospitals and do not provide free services. New Farm Clinic is a general mental health hospital and provides some postpartum services although it is not a specialist in this area. Ramsay Medical also manages the mental health treatment program at Greenslopes Private Hospital.
Brisbane Private Hospital
Brisbane Private Hospital is a fee paying facility and does not specialise in mother/baby services. It does however offer inpatient mental health services including anxiety and depression.
Postnatal depression support in Brisbane varies from the “tea and sympathy” approach to intervention strategies involving hospital stays and psychological treatment. What’s right for you is up to you and your GP. The only wrong treatment is no treatment.