Post-natal depression hits Hills mums

POST-NATAL depression is a growing problem in the Hills.

Hills Family Centre co-ordinator Rene Acker-Sessions said this first came to her attention in 2008, when the first financial crisis hit.

"From that time, stories started coming through our groups of women feeling they weren't coping with the parenting experience," she said.

"We then started spending more time with our community health nurses to meet new families moving into this area . . . and more and more the stories started coming out that there was a high degree of post-natal depression here."

"It was mostly around social isolation as well as a new thing we're seeing in our society with expectations around motherhood today.

"We've got all these subliminal messages nowadays that tell us that as women we have to be the Madonna, the sex goddess, educated career women, everything, which is impossible."

About a year ago, Ms Acker-Sessions spoke to a mother who said that of 10 women she had become friends with through a supported playgroup run by the service, eight were on anti-depressants. They are not alone.

Data from the 2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey, released this month, found one in five women with a child under age two was diagnosed with depression. Of these, 10 per cent were diagnosed between the birth and first birthday of their child.

The report states more than 8 in 10 mothers suffering from perinatal depression sought treatment from their GP.

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