The event is in support of PANDA- Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia and coincides with Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Awareness (PANDA) Week, held 10-16 November 2019.
Over 50 women joined together for a morning of inspiration, hope and meaningful connections to raise awareness for postnatal depression and celebrate the journey and triumphs of womanhood.
Each year another 100,000 families in Australia will face perinatal mental illness with 1 in 6 Australian women experiencing depression and more than 1 in 5 expecting or new mums experiencing postnatal depression. Since its establishment 35 years ago, the PANDA foundation - Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia has provided support to tens of thousands of families Australia-wide.
During PANDA week each year, Belmont Private Hospital strives to build awareness and share information about perinatal mental health and wellbeing. It is in the hospital’s vision to help build a society where perinatal mental health is valued and understood and where stigmas and systemic barriers to seeking help no longer exist.
In a special in conversation high tea event, Rachel Thaiday shared her journey and shined a light on how she and Broncos star, Sam Thaiday were able to find her way out of the darkness after her eight-month battle with postnatal depression.
Rachel hid her pain, revealing she had been in complete denial that she had postnatal depression because she saw it as a weakness.
“I was so numb, I couldn’t do anything or feel anything. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t do my job as a mother,” says Rachel.
Rachel’s advice to other women battling postnatal depression is not to be scared to ask for help, and to find what works best for you.
“Get courageous and delve into the uncomfortable. Do whatever that is going to push you out of your comfort zone to help you with your mental state – step by step you are moving in the right direction to being a better you.
“As women we need to encourage and empower those around us. Stay true to what you enjoy, find your inner strength and own who you are,” says Rachel.
The Empowered Women with Rachel Thaiday event is an extension of The Stretch2Engage pilot project,’ an initiative endorsed by the Queensland Mental Health Commission that will assist organisations in the mental health and AOD sectors to seek invaluable feedback from consumers.
Belmont Private Hospital was the only private organisation chosen to participate in this pilot project. The primary focus of the project has been to identify and gain feedback on the barriers that currently exist for women accessing perinatal support services.
Mary Williams, Belmont Private Hospital CEO hopes by introducing this event as the culmination of said pilot project in a non-medical domain such as Loreto College that it will help foster the importance of early intervention and education with pre-contemplative women as they commence their journey through womanhood.
“The conversation about the sometimes complicated journey into motherhood must start early in a woman’s life so as to normalise and encourage real conversations to reduce stigma and shame.”
“Empowered women lift other woman to empowerment. By sharing our stories, normalising stress, anxiety and distress as real and very human responses to transitions in life,” said Mary.