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Tweddle Infant and Perinatal Psychology team talk about Mental Health Week (Oct 5-11)

Posted by Kerrie Gottliebsen | 01/10/14

Tweddle’s Infant and Perinatal Psychology Service Clinical Psychologists Nikki Zerman, Shikkiah de Quadros-Wander and Emma Symes know the consequences of undiagnosed and untreated perinatal depression and the importance of early intervention. Mental Health Week in Australia (5-11th October) gives mental health professionals the opportunity to raise awareness of the issues that may occur in the perinatal period and the impact they have on mums, dads and their children.

Data from the 2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey showed that 1 in 5 (20%) of mothers of children aged 24 months or less had been diagnosed with depression.  “We know that depression has high economic, personal and family costs” said Nikki

“Postnatal depression and anxiety during pregnancy and in the first years of life can impact on family functioning and social, emotional and cognitive development in children."

It’s not just mums who suffer. Dads are also at risk of antenatal and postnatal depression.  Research shows that one in 20 fathers are now diagnosed with postnatal depression each year in Australia. The total number may actually be higher and many more struggle without seeking a diagnosis or support.

Tweddle’s Infant and Perinatal Psychology Service in Footscray was recently enhanced to provide a broader range of services. The Psychology team help people individually, with a partner or together with their child.  They also support infants by helping parents to develop secure attachment relationships with them.

“When it comes to experiencing perinatal depression and anxiety and problems connecting or bonding with your child, we know that the earlier a person seeks help the better the outcome” said Nikki

Mums and Dads experiencing depression and anxiety often talk about their lack of social or emotional support.  They also express feelings of low self-esteem and confidence and the impact of a partner’s mental health. Nikki pointed out that all of these issues can impact the child so it is important to ask for help.

“When you add issues like a relationship problems or difficulty adjusting to the new role of being a parent, you can see how important it is to discuss strategies and goals that keep everyone safe and support family wellbeing”.

The Department of Health’s Framework for the National Perinatal Depression Initiative 2008-13 research indicates that each year around one in ten Australian women experience depression during pregnancy and almost one in five experience depression in the weeks and months after giving birth.

Nikki Zerman believes that Mental Health Week helps highlight the services and resources that exist throughout the community to support people experiencing mental ill health.

“Removing the stigma around mental health issues is a priority at Tweddle, and with it impacting 1 in 5 Australians, the more people we can help the better”

For Mental Health Week, Tweddle is raising awareness of infant and perinatal mental health challenges and the expanded Tweddle Psychology Service.

For more information about the Tweddle Infant and Perinatal Psychology Service ring (03) 9689 1577 or visit here


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