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Women have a number of barriers to seeking mental health help, including putting the needs of family or children first out of obligation.

We do know that women are at higher risk of experiencing mental illness such as anxiety and depression, particularly during major life changes such as childbirth or menopause.  Women may also struggle to speak up due to social pressure or a feeling of needing to ‘just keep going’ for the sake of family/ work/ friends or children. Women often carry the majority of the burden on carer roles, such as caring for children or elderly parents, and do know that carer roles are often emotionally as well as physically draining and often come with little recognition or reward.

Crisis Telephone numbers and support- Helpful-contact-numbers-and-links

  • I am experiencing thoughts of self harm, what should I do? Call 000 or present to ED.  Please feel free to also book with one of our GP’s for after y0ur hospital visit, but with long waiting times currently our service is not suitable for urgent or emergency care.
  • I am having difficulty with my mood/ anxiety/ coping/ trauma symptoms/ emotional regulation or outbursts/ alcohol or other drug problem etc.  What should I do?
  1. Book an appointment with one of our doctors if you would like a medical opinion and to discuss further options.
  2. Consider completing these questionnaire and bring this to your appointment.  (For during pregnancy and 12 months after delivery)  https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/edinburgh-postnatal-depression-scale.pdf   (For trouble with mood and anxiety) 5.K10withinstructions      Dass42   (For trouble with impulsive behaviour/ mood swings and concentration difficulty)  ADHD-Adult-Screening-asrs-v1-1   (For severe ups and downs of the mood) Bipolar-Disorder-Self-assessment-tool (1) (For issues with drugs or alcohol)  Drug_use screening
  3. Take some time when waiting for your appointment to write down a summary of your symptoms and difficulties This will greatly help your GP to consider a diagnosis and suggest the best management.  For example- you might write down some notes about your family history (does anyone have any mood or emotional difficulties whether diagnosed or no?), How were your younger years? (happy, anxious, always getting into trouble, loved or hated school, relationships and friendships?), How were your teenage years? (happy and sociably, anxious or depressed mood, struggled to reach potential at school or work, getting into trouble with peers or teachers, any drug use or legal problems?); How have close relationships been? (settled and happy close relationships, rocky and volatile relationships even angry outbursts or violence?); Have you had any issues with drugs or alcohol? What currently affects you from having a happy and fulfilled life? (emotional ups and downs, frustrations with never being able to keep on top of the tasks of life, rocky relationships with friends or family, financial issues due to impulsive spending, trouble with drugs or alcohol?)  Are there specific things which make you feel anxious or depressed such as particular situations or events. Remember, you have had many or none of these difficulties, but taking time to think about and write this down helps your GP to help you.
  4. Consider starting an exercise plan for yourself- the evidence for exercise as a treatment for anxiety and depression is very impressive, and exercise can be as useful and effective as medication, provided the exercise is for around 45mins of moderate to high intensity, most or all days of the week.  Try this Black Dog plan to start your own exercise program! – Exercise-Plan-development
  5. While waiting for your appointment, you might want to look at the below videos/ blogs/ podcasts and helpful websites to learn more about this condition and to start with some self help exercises. Our doctors look forward to seeing you soon.

 

Additional Resources:

Mindfulness in Everyday life- a useful summary from Black Dog Institute on bringing mindfulness to daily life. Mindfulness-in-Everyday-Life

Calm- very helpful resource for self help with evidence of benefit in anxiety and mood https://www.calm.com/

Black Dog Institute Expert Insights– Podcast series with a range of expert health professionals discussing mental health and treatments. https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/education-services/podcasts/expert-insights/

Mood Mission– An app designed to empower users to take control of their mood and mental health  https://moodmission.com/

ADDitude- a fantastic website with podcasts and downloads and information on ADHD. https://www.additudemag.com/tag/download/

MGH Centre for Women’s Mental Health- specific women’s health research including blogs and information-   https://womensmentalhealth.org/specialty-clinics/postpartum-psychiatric-disorders/