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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    To what extent do you think perinatal depress is a Public Health issue?

    In this period of changing gendered roles it seems to me that the social system has had trouble keeping up with cultural change/expectations. Women and their families are caught between multiple factors such as the cost of living, a need to maintain workplace attachment, and the requirements of care. Workplaces have been slow to change and primary caregivers often lack adequate support systems. In this context I would be very interested in your response - to what extent do you think perinatal depression is a Public Health or social policy issue?
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  • 1

    Thanks

    Brigitte Safrana

    Counsellor, Hypnotherapist

    I created Surfing The Blues and Surfing The Baby Blues Counselling & Hypnotherapy services in order to help individuals and couples restore balance in their … View Profile

    Perinatal depression is definitely a Public Health and social policy issue if only for the fact that women affected by perinatal depression and not getting the support that they need are going to be raising the next generation of parents, workers, politicians and policy makers.  When individuals are affected by emotional issues such as lack of bonding and attachment problems we know for a fact that their ability to relate is affected and therefore will have a massive impact in ALL their relationships: at work, in the family and generally socially.  It seems therefore important for the future of the nation, as on humane ground, to give as much support as possible to women and families who are affected by perinatal depression in the hope that it will help produce happier and well balanced individuals including parents and children as well as the wider family circle.
    Another aspect which would appeal to policy makers is the impact of perinatal depression on productivity at work.

  • 1

    Thanks

    JoannieG

    HealthShare Member

    Hello Brigitte, Good to hear from you. You are working at the coal face in this regard. I have recently updated my profile on this site but in this I set out my research background and work experience. In 2010 I graduated from the ANU with a doctorate in gender and sociology. My thesis, that I worked on for just over five years, focused on women in the early years after the birth of their first infant. I conducted 3 hour in-depth interviews with sixteen women and this data along with significant research on: the Transition to Parenthood; family in society; and midwifery and maternal and child health materials to make my argument. There is a body of evidence of depression for women both during the pregnancy and after the birth, but also higher rates of anxiety accompanied by marital dissatisfaction and legendary issues related to identity. It seems to me that these health concerns have been heavily medicalized and don't appear to be accompanied by calls for social change. A couple of years ago there was a national inquiry into Midwifery services (that generally conclude six weeks after the birth) there is a need for the same kind of national inquiry into the Maternal (now Family) and Child Health services as these are a critical touchstone between this client group and the health services. There is currently a related CHoRUS study being conducted by the University of Western Sydney but the questions are heavily weighted towards the infant/child and not the mother. Furthermore, the current policy emphasis, that has arisen from the National Agenda for Early Childhood continues to take the focus away from women and their families - as you have noted - how can infants and children prosper if their mothers are unwell and their families struggling?

  • Brigitte Safrana

    Counsellor, Hypnotherapist

    I created Surfing The Blues and Surfing The Baby Blues Counselling & Hypnotherapy services in order to help individuals and couples restore balance in their … View Profile

    Thanks Joannie for sharing the details of your studies, it emphasizes the importance of a well stuctured  and ongoing support for women and their families suffering from perinatal depression.
    Because of the scarcity of resources in this area i am in the process of organizing a 10 weeks group therapy intervention if you are interested. I welcome all suggestions.

  • 1

    Thanks

    JoannieG

    HealthShare Member

    Hi Brigitte, I am in Canberra. I'm interested in knowing about interventions but I am not a health practitioner I am coming at the issue from a sociological perspective. I am currently working on a submission for Professional Development points for the relevant health practitioners for a six session online course which I have called: Beyond the clinical perspective: perinatal depression and the mother's life  - all going well this will get off the ground early next year. But in the meantime I like to work as an advocate for better services and policy response.

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