Samantha Healy | The Sunday Mail | June 27, 2010
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.