Centre to help families through early years

A CENTRE for families who are experiencing mental health problems during or after pregnancy opened this week.
Nanjing Night Net

St John of God Hospital has established a Raphael Centre at its Kangaroo Flat operation to help families who are experiencing depression, anxiety or stress from conception through to four years of age.

Families must be referred from a GP to access the free service.

Raphael service manager Tina Winzar said the team comprised a mental health nurse, psychologist and a social worker.

“All have experience with children and adults, and also in dealing with mental health,” she said.

She said the transition to parenthood could create physical, emotional and social upheaval for families.

“The Raphael Centre is a service where mothers and fathers can find the understanding they need,” she said.

Mission director Denis Byrne said the Bendigo service was the latest in a number of Raphael centres to be built around Australia. He said Bendigo was identified as an area with the need for the service. “It has been strongly supported by paediatricians and mental health services around the area, and we will continue to work closely with them,” he said.

Mr Byrne said there had been high demand at all of Australia’s Raphael centres.

“Each centre is responsive to the local community’s needs.”

SUPPORTED: Raphael Centre service manager Tina Winzar, rear, with mum Sarah Padbury and Jesse, 4, and Riley, 3. Picture: PETER WEAVING

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