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UHG in conjunction with AWARE offer free Perinatal Support Group Sessions in Galway

UHG in conjunction with AWARE offer free Perinatal Support Group Sessions in Galway

The support group sessions are held every Wednesday at 7:30pm in Unit 8, Merlin Park University Hospital. No referral or booking is needed and there is no charge for the service. The group offers the women the chance to explore options available to them and learn coping skills to reduce the impact of the condition. It also provides a comfortable and safe place where women can share their experiences with one another. Postnatal depression is often referred to as perinatal depression because it is recognised that many women experience depression during pregnancy as well as after the birth of their child. Perinatal refers to the period during pregnancy and one year after birth.

Aware undertakes to create a society where people affected by stress, depression, bipolar and mood disorders are understood, supported, free from stigma, and are encouraged to access appropriate therapies. Aware’s website offers information on depression and the organisation’s other services; you can also email for support at: The Aware Support Line is available seven days a week from 10am-10pm, Freephone 1800 80 48 48.

Back in December 2015 a new Perinatal Mental Health Group was established in University Hospital Galway (UHG). The wide multidiiplinary membership of the group includes representation from a service user, midwifery, obstetrics, psychiatry, psychology, general practice, community mental health services, pharmacy, physiotherapy, medical social workers, teen parent service, bereavement, public health and practice nursing The aim of Perinatal Mental Health Group is to promote awareness through staff education and to address the recommendations of The Irish Maternity Strategy 2016-2026 that the mental health of women during and after pregnancy should be better supported through awareness, screening and support. To this end the group devised a patient information leaflet in conjunction with the psychology department and a new booklet of support services was launched. Five staff members from the maternity department at UHG undertook a module in perinatal mental health in the University of Limerick in 2016. A care pathway and guideline for care has been implemented into practice for the Saolta Group. 

A priority for the Perinatal Mental Health Group was to provide further supports for women and in doing so teamed up with AWARE to offer free weekly Perinatal Mental Health Support Group sessions in Galway city and the surrounding area for new and expectant mothers experiencing symptoms of postnatal depression, anxiety and other perinatal mood disorders. The AWARE Perinatal Support Group was officially launched on Wednesday, 26 April, 2017 in UHG.

Dr. Ethel Ryan, Saolta Clinical Director for Woman & Children’s Directorate and Consultant Neonatologist / Paediatrician said, “Pregnancy is usually a very exciting time for women, their partners and families. Pregnancy is ultimately life changing. For some women, they not only experience the physical changes that accompany pregnancy but also experience emotional and mental health issues. Indeed one in six pregnant women – or 16% of pregnant women - attending maternity services across Ireland are at probable risk of depression. For this reason we thought it prudent to get involved with AWARE and support this peer support model of care for women at a vulnerable time of their lives’’. 

Photo caption

Pictured at the AWARE Perinatal Support Group launch is L:R, Edel Callanan, Physiotherapy Manager Unit 8, MPUH; Deirdre Naughton, Chair of Perinatal Mental Health Group, UHG; Dr Ethyl Ryan, Clinical Director Women & Children’s Directorate, Saolta; Brid O’Meara, Director of Services AWARE;  Breda Kearns, AIMs Ireland; Siobhan O Connor, Midwife;  Virginia Moyles, AWARE facilitator and  Bernadette O’Malley, Business Manager, Women and Children’s Directorate, Saolta. 

The article above is specific to the following Saolta hospitals:: 
University Hospital Galway (UHG)