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Helping mums, children, families and communities inspires mental health researcher

01 October 2019 Blog
Perinatal mental health
We asked perinatal mental health researcher Dr Nicole Reilly her insights into emotional wellbeing as a part of Mental Health Month. Nicole’s research has looked at and impacted mothers who are cared for at St John of God Burwood Hospital’s Mother and Baby Unit. She also collaborates closely with St John of God Health Care Chair of Perinatal and Women’s Mental Health Professor Marie-Paule Austin.

What do you do to keep your emotional wellbeing in check?

Walk, read, swim, listen to music and spend as much time as I can with my family and friends.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about mental health in the wider community?

Unfortunately, research continues to show that there is still an enormous amount of shame and stigma that can prevent people from seeking help for their emotional health when they most need it. 

Why were you interested in researching perinatal mental health? 

The perinatal period is a time when the vast majority of women are in regular contact with health professionals, and it provides such a unique window to identify concerns and intervene early.

The potential for this work to benefit not just pregnant woman and new mothers, but their children, family and community, is what drives me.

What is the biggest learning you have had about mental health/ perinatal mental health over the course of your career? 

During my time working in this field, so many women have given up their own time to participate in studies both large and small, and invariably say they are happy to do so if it means that the work will help other women and their families in the future. 

Their generosity of spirit, even in times of real adversity, is an inspiration and I feel privileged to have been able to help share their stories.

 

St John of God Health Care Nicole Reilly
Nicole Reilly - Perinatal Mental Health Researcher

Dr Nicole Reilly is an emerging leader in the field of perinatal mental health. She is a Senior Research Associate at the Perinatal and Women’s Mental Health Unit at St John of God Burwood Hospital and School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales (UNSW) and has over 10 years’ experience in perinatal mental health research and evaluation.She is dedicated to better understanding the impact of preventive and early intervention programs on mental health outcomes for women and families, and to evaluating the value of national health reform at population-based levels.

St John of God Health Care Nicole Reilly
Nicole Reilly Perinatal Mental Health Researcher