Pillar of Strength for New Mothers

Samantha Healy  |  The Sunday Mail  |  June 27, 2010

STRONG COMMITMENT: Psychologist Lisa Lindley has been nominated in the Care and Compassion category for her role in supporting mothers affected by post-natal depression.

WHEN Sunshine Coast psychologist Lisa Lindley discovered a gap in the support network for new mums in her region, she set up a group to remedy the situation. Established in 2007, the Sunshine Coast Post-Natal Depression Support Group has grown to more than 100 members and helped many more women deal with the disorder.

Deborah Rule, who has nominated Ms Lindley for a 2010 Pride of Australia Medal, described the psychologist’s commitment to the group as ‘‘unfailing’’. ‘‘I met Lisa when I was at my worst. Post-natal depression is extremely isolating and I was desperate to talk to women in a similar situation,’’ Ms Rule said. ‘‘Unfortunately, the nearest support group was on the southside of Brisbane . . . (so) Lisa took it upon herself to set up a Sunshine Coast group.’’ Ms Lindley recalled: ‘‘I met Deborah quite late into her case, she had been hospitalised a few times and I asked her what would have helped her get better. ‘‘She said a group of women she could talk to and who would not judge her would have been a huge help and relief. So we set one up and our 10th group recently finished its term.’’

Ms Lindley said each group attends the program for eight weeks. They speak among themselves, hear talks from guest speakers and go on outings such as abseiling. Partners are also asked to attend at least one session. ‘‘It is amazing how you can get a group of women from all walks of life together who goon to be good friends,’’ Ms Lindley said. ‘‘We can be our own worst enemies sometimes because we find it difficult to show others that we are struggling, but they do let those walls down in these groups.’’

When Ms Lindley is not helping the new mothers of the Sunshine Coast, she is away working in some of the world’s most dangerous and unforgiving regions. Her most recent trip was to Uganda with The Frontline, an initiative of the Family Challenge. While there, Ms Lindley helped run trauma rehabilitation programs for former child soldiers and sex slaves in the refugee camps of the war ravaged country. Her next trip will be to Chiang Mai in Thailand with a team of volunteer dentists in August. They will provide free dental care to children in refugee camps on the Thailand-Burma border.

Ms Lindley has been nominated in the Care and Compassion category. Other categories include Courage, Heroism, Outstanding Bravery, Community Spirit, Child of Courage, Young Leader, Inspiration, Environment, Fair Go and Serving Australia.


Post-natal help for new mums

4th Feb 2009 | Sunshine Coast Daily

Tanya McFadyen of Woombye with son Dexter 16 months and Natalie Fraser of Parreara with son Trent 20 months. Photo: Greg Miller

Now entering its third year, the Sunshine Coast post-natal depression support group has reached dozens of Coast women suffering this isolating illness.

Tanya McFadyen said she had valued the session on assertive communication the most, learning when and how to ask for help when at her most vulnerable. She said the session on “the link between our thoughts, feelings and actions made a big impact”.
“Depression can hit anyone from any kind of background,” she said. “I was a primary school music teacher for a number of years and also worked in real estate for a short time. “I always considered myself to be energetic, happy and up-beat … not the kind of person who would get depressed. What a shock. Having a baby changed my world so much. I really had no idea how challenging it would be.

“One of my biggest problems was asking for help. I kept thinking, ‘If I just work harder and faster, I can get everything done’. Wrong. You will never get everything done as a mum so the sooner you learn that the better. “The PND program has helped me to realise these things but the learning process continues.” Natalie Fraser said she was happy she could learn more about post-natal depression in a supportive group environment. “To be able to talk with other mums and share their experiences was very a positive step forward for me,” she said.

Group co-founder Deb Rule said that thanks to psychologist and volunteer group facilitator Lisa Lindley, the free group met each Wednesday. She said mums received support from other women and positive strategies to potentially help reduce the severity and duration of the illness. “It’s amazing that as many as one-in-seven women suffer PND and yet, it is still not widely acknowledged as a problem or even talked about,” she said.

“When I was going through my post-natal depression, I just wanted to talk to other women who were going through the same thing I was and to do something to help myself. But the closest support group was on the south side of Brisbane. “Since starting the group, we’ve come across so many Coast women suffering this on their own. We just want them to know we are here and they don’t have to feel alone.”

The Sunshine Coast Post-Natal Depression Support Group will reconvene on Wednesday.

For more information, phone Lisa Lindley on 0417 540 820

Mum tells of bout with depression

24th November 2010 | Sunshine Coast Daily

IMAGINE not cracking a smile when you are around Avani Jaremus, 2, and her nine-month-old baby sister Chella. Avani squeals when Dorothy the Dinosaur’s head pops up on television, and Chella barely registers her fingertips being crunched by a wayward tricycle as she crawls about the floor. This scene of domestic bliss is a stark contrast to their mother Kristi’s almost-crippling postnatal depression (PND) immediately after the birth of her first child.

It is a load shared by at least one in six mothers. Kristi, 33, a financial controller, and her husband meticulously planned their parenthood. And everything was going swimmingly until the pair left the hospital with tiny Avani. “Looking back, when we put Avani in the car, I was bawling my eyes out,” Kristi said. “I didn’t know what I was doing, and of course no one does, but it never got better for me.”

Kristi attended a mothers’ group but found herself putting on a “front” because the other mums seemed so content with their cubs. “I just isolated myself because I had no energy for the front any more.” It took five months for Kristi to see her GP, who diagnosed her condition and recommended a psychologist. Within four weeks the fog began to lift.

She visited psychologist Lisa Lindley’s Mooloolaba practice and later attended her support group for PND-sufferers. “It was great to meet face-to-face with other women because there’s such a stigma that no one talks about,” she said.

Now, more than 12 months after her diagnosis, she is a doting mother who is more relaxed. Kristi’s message to any concerned mother is to see a GP. “Even if you’re feeling down and feeling a bit of doubt, they might just tell you it’s a rough spot, or it might be something more serious they can help with,” she said.

Mother’s group in spotlight

26th September 2010 | Sunshine Coast Daily

A SMALL, innovative mothers’ group on the Sunshine Coast has sparked national interest from one of the country’s most respected current affairs programs. The Coast’s Post Natal Support Group has been approached by 60 Minutes for a segment on postnatal depression, thanks to the group’s growing reputation.

The group has helped more than 50 women overcome depression in the past three years. With a new course starting on October 6, facilitator and psychologist Lisa Lindley is happy for the recognition, but does not want it to scare away new clients as her main focus is still on helping those in need. Ms Lindley said there were still spots open for her next eight-week course.

“There is one in five women on the Coast who suffer from postnatal depression,” she said. “The program … provides women with practical strategies to help them to overcome PND in a supportive environment. “These support groups are one of the biggest ways to overcome it and there is the chance to meet others facing similar struggles.”

For more information visit www.sunshinecoastpnd.com. or ph 0417 540 820.

It’s okay to say ‘we can’t cope’

Written by Miranda Cashin | 22nd October 2011 | Sunshine Coast Daily

Psychologist Lisa Lindley, middle, is helping new mums beat the baby blues. Photo: Darryn Smith

POST-natal depression (PND) doesn’t discriminate. It can affect women of all ages and from all backgrounds. It affects one-in-six mothers in Australia and occurs when a woman experiences moderate to severe depressive symptoms after childbirth. The symptoms may present themselves immediately after childbirth or develop any time during the first year.

More than simply “baby blues”, PND can run the full gamut of emotions from feeling sad, a loss of control right through to extreme depression. The onset of PND can be slow or sudden and symptoms can include:

  • Feeling down for long periods of time
  • Feeling detached or unable to cope with your baby’s demands
  • Lack of interest in your baby or other activities
  • Reduced appetite or comfort eating
  • Fatigue, difficulties sleeping
  • Negative thoughts and feelings
  • Loss of sex drive

The cause of PND is largely unknown and while the drop in hormones that occurs after giving birth is thought to be a contributing factor, a combination of life-style changes, sleep deprivation and stress can be to blame.

Clinical psychologist Lisa Lindley specialises in treating women with PND and runs a support group for woman suffering from the condition on the Coast. Since the group’s establishment four years ago, 65 women have completed the eight-week course. Ms Lindley was inspired to start the group after treating a woman with PND who felt alone and powerless.

Similar to regular depression, treatment can involve counselling and anti-depressants but Ms Lindley said one of the most important aspects of treatment was support and attending a support group. “There’s this terrible pressure on women after they have given birth,” she said. “It’s a really challenging time with a lot of changes. “You are sleep-deprived and at home with a baby all day. “It’s very different from a career where you are in control and know what to expect. “Women don’t know there is support out there and that they aren’t alone. “If they think they aren’t coping, they feel like a failure as a mother and they’re too ashamed to talk about it. “There’s a lot of shame attached with PND.”

Ms Lindley said PND was nothing to be ashamed of. If PND was suspected, the most important thing to do was to tell your partner and seek help. Dads can also suffer from PND and the support group offers a night just for the dads to help them cope with their own feelings and give them the tools to help their partner. The Postnatal Depression Support Group runs for eight weeks each term. It is held every Wednesday at the Maroochy Baptist Centre from 1-2pm. The cost of $20 can be bulk- billed with a Mental Health Care Plan. The current course started two weeks ago but women are still free to join or contact Ms Lindley for more information or private counselling.

Next Wednesday from 10am to noon, the group will host a special morning tea with guest speakers. Debra Dane, from Home Life Simplified, will talk about living a balanced life and ditching the guilt.  For more information, contact Ms Lindley on 0417 540 820.

Further information on PND can also be found at Post and Antenatal Depression Association at http://www.panda.org.au/.

Help for Child Soldiers

Written by Janine Hill | 4th May 2009 | Sunshine Coast Daily

Lisa Lindley is off to Uganda to help traumatised child soldiers. Photo: Nicholas Falconer

When Lisa Lindley first heard psychologist doctor Robi Sonderegger speak about the work being done with traumatised child-soldiers in Uganda, she vowed to help.Five years later, the Buderim woman is doing exactly that.

Lisa and her friend, Fiona O’Donnell, of Canberra, boarded a plane to Uganda last Friday to put in three weeks as volunteers at displaced persons camps. The part-time psychologist and mother of three teenage children said she had made a promise to help to Dr Sonderegger when he spoke at a school function.“I couldn’t go then. My kids were too young then,” she said. “Eighteen months ago, I was in hospital for two months with a back operation that went wrong, and while I was there, I realised that my husband and kids could cope okay without me now. I realised I could go when I got strong again,” she said. Lisa regained her fitness and when she rang her old school friend, Fiona, to tell her about the trip, she volunteered to join her.

They were not exactly sure what to expect but would be working with others already involved in counselling and rehabilitating traumatised children and their communities.The modest mum said she did not deserve any kudos for her volunteer work. “There’s so many people like that. I don’t look at me as different from anyone else. There’s so many people who give their time and do things like that. I’m only going for three weeks. Other people pack up their whole families and go for a lot longer.”