For people in the Casey-Cardinia region, the opening of the St John of God Langmore Centre means there are more services in the area for mental health conditions, including perinatal mental health.“While pregnancy and new parenthood is an exciting time, it can also be extremely difficult for parents,” says St John of God Langmore Centre CEO Linda Allen.
She says it is important for expecting and new parents to know that perinatal mental illness is common, but also very treatable particularly with the assistance of St John of God Health Care’s qualified clinicians.
Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress, attachment difficulties, struggles with transitioning to parenthood and unresolved grief issues are just some of the reasons that might see one, or both parents needing to access St John of God Langmore Centre’s new perinatal mental health services.
The antenatal (pre-birth) and postnatal (following birth) periods can be challenging emotionally, physically and mentally, and many people who are pregnant or who care for an infant can experience an exacerbation of a previous mental health condition or can develop one prior to having a baby and/or in the days or months after birth.
Both parents or primary carers can be impacted at this time and care is available for each of them at St John of God Langmore Centre.
The 60-bed mental health hospital has a 12-bed unit dedicated to perinatal mental health and comprises of private rooms with ensuites, a baby bathroom, and a unit lounge and dining room with tea and coffee making facilities.
Patients are encouraged to invite their partner or support person to room-in for the duration of their stay, as well as with their baby up to 18 months of age, if not yet walking.
Parents can take advantage of shared art, music and exercise therapy areas, a café, chapel, daily newspapers, free parking, outdoor courtyards and a sensory garden, laundry facilities, Wi-Fi, pastoral care services and a quiet room.
“We have a highly skilled team of mental health professionals equipped to deliver the best possible patient care,” says Linda.
“Depending on individual needs, patients will be supported by mental health nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, physicians, social workers, pastoral care practitioners, exercise physiologists, and occupational, art and music therapists.
“A lactation consultant and other allied health professionals will also be on hand to assist where needed.
“St John of God Langmore Centre takes a holistic approach to patient recovery with tailored services offered to treat a patient’s entire being. This means, not only addressing their mental health condition but their physical, emotional and spiritual needs as well.”
The opening of the Wexford Unit means St John of God Health Care is now positioned to provide an extensive and cohesive approach to perinatal mental health with St John of God Berwick Hospital and St John of God Langmore Centre able to partner with St John of God Raphael Services in Berwick a social outreach initiative that offers counselling, support and therapy for new families with no out-of-pocket expenses attached.
Specialising in perinatal anxiety and depression, clients can access St John of God Raphael Services through a GP referral from conception up until their child’s fourth birthday. These complementary services will work toward establishing early intervention and screening tools to help recognise parents with mental health issues or those at risk of developing them through various stages of pregnancy and parenthood.
Family members requiring inpatient care or outpatient appointments with a psychiatrist may then be referred to the St John of God Langmore Centre.
“Feeling a little emotional and anxious after the arrival of a new baby is normal, but if a low mood and feelings of anxiety persist for more than a couple of weeks and are interfering with a parent’s ability to function or enjoy the things that they would normally look forward to, it is possible they are experiencing perinatal anxiety and/or depression and accessing clinical support may be beneficial, if not, necessary,” says Linda.
There are a whole range of symptoms that can be experienced and often they are different for each person, but generally speaking they can include: feeling sad and teary for no obvious reason; persistent feelings of worry or fear often to do with the health and wellbeing of their baby; persistent feelings of panic; persistent irritability; trouble sleeping; mood swings; tiredness and lack of energy.
“Although these are the most common signs, there are others,” says Linda.
“So if you’re concerned that you or a loved one may be experiencing perinatal anxiety or depression, the best thing to do is to make an appointment with your GP as soon as you can so they can connect you with the most appropriate supports and resources available. You can also call our Langmore Centre on (03) 9773 7000 for more information on our facility and mental health services, as well as seek guidance on the admission process.”
The addition of the St John of God Langmore Centre, located at 3 Gibb St, Berwick, enhances St John of God Health Care’s existing health care services in the region. Services available include acute medical, surgical and maternity services located at its St John of God Berwick Hospital, rehabilitation services at its St John of God Frankston Hospital, along with outpatient counselling, group therapy and mental health support for families at St John of God Raphael Services on Fairholme Boulevard in Berwick.
Tel: 0407 682 501
Email: [email protected]