Perinatal wellbeingin the spotlight

November 5, 2020 BY

The Perinatal Hub Surf Coast cofounders Dr Adi Brown and Talia Avenell.

As PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) Week approaches, mental health workers are aiming to draw attention to the illnesses.

The Post and Antenatal Depression Association states that more than one in seven new mums experience postnatal anxiety or postnatal depression in the year after birth.

Although clinical psychologist and cofounder of The Perinatal Hub Surf Coast Dr Adi Brown said the perinatal period is several years long.

“The perinatal period is mostly considered from when you think about falling pregnant or having a baby, through to when the child is about five years old,” she said.

“The difference between general anxiety and depression and perinatal anxiety and depression is really the time where symptoms are seen. Some of the symptoms are very similar, however, they are often linked to the challenges and adjustments that someone faces when having a child.

“It can be more complex, because the child is also involved, so there is a relationship, and we’re trained to support the relationship.”

The theme of 2020 PANDA Week is “Tell someone who cares”. The aim is to encourage new and expecting parents to reach out and be confident support will be there for them when they do.

Dr Brown said the challenges presented by COVID-19 made the theme particularly timely.

“The restrictions have changed the way people experience pregnancy and birth. So, I think it’s really important that we acknowledge that is okay for someone to speak out and seek support.”

Fellow cofounder of The Perinatal Hub Surf Coast Talia Avenell said COVID-19 had also made it more difficult for locals to readily access perinatal support.

“With COVID, a lot of the psychologists in Melbourne and Geelong at the moment have four to six months waitlists, so it’s certainly been difficult for our Surf Coast locals that need that service.”

Dr Brown noted the accessibility of perinatal support services predated the pandemic.

“I’ve been down here a couple of years. What I noticed was there was a real lack of perinatal psychologists and general perinatal support,” Dr Brown said.

“Particularly with the growing population down here I realised there was a need for more perinatal support services.”

Dr Brown said she and Ms Avenell are trying to address this problem through The Perinatal Hub Surf Coast.

“The idea of creating a space where people could meet and connect and receive a range of holistic services that all support their perinatal needs was a long-term dream of both of ours.”

People can learn more about the services The Perinatal Hub Surf Coast offers by head to theperinatalhub.com.au or emailing [email protected].

PANDA Week runs from Sunday, November 8 to Saturday, November 14.

To find out more about PANDA Week and perinatal anxiety and depression head to panda.org.au/awareness/panda-week.