UWS hosts maternity, mothers and mental health conference

The University of Western Sydney is hosting a one-day conference to explore the social and emotional support needs of pregnant women, new mothers and their families.

The Maternity, Mothers and Mental Health Conference will be held on Tuesday 17th July 2012 at the UWS Parramatta campus.

The full-day event will feature presentations by a range of Australian and international experts in the fields of mental health and motherhood, including:

  • Professor Cindy-Lee Dennis, University of Toronto – Preventing Postpartum Depression: Perspectives from Canada.
  • Professor Marie Paule Austin, University of New South Wales – Maternal stress, anxiety and depression in pregnancy: impact on obstetric and infant outcomes.
  • Professor Rhonda Small, La Trobe University – What do we mean by culturally responsive health services? Reflections from Australian research with immigrant and refugee women and their experiences of maternal depression.

Conference convener Professor Virginia Schmied from the UWS School of Nursing and Midwifery says the conference will focus on the factors that influence the mental health of women and men during the perinatal period.

“The term ‘perinatal period’ refers to the time during pregnancy and up to around 12 months after birth,” says Professor Schmied.

“There is a wealth of evidence, from Australia researchers as well as internationally, which suggest that women and their families need a significant amount of care and support during this important period.

“This conference aims to draw together this evidence and encourage experts to also consider the unique, cultural needs of new mothers from refugee and migrant backgrounds.”

At UWS, Professor Schmied leads a research node, supported by the School of Nursing and Midwifery, titled ‘Nurturing Parents and Parenting: Enhancing support for parents through Research’ (NIPPER).

Within NIPPER, Professor Schmied and colleagues Associate Professor Hannah Dahlen and Professor Maree Johnson concentrate on research activities which aim to improve the health and wellbeing of mothers, infants and families in western Sydney.

The Maternity, Mothers and Mental Health Conference was organised as an opportunity to strengthen the University’s international research collaborations in the area of perinatal mental health, as well as build partnerships with industry.

WHAT: Maternity, Mothers and Mental Health Conference
WHEN: 8:30am-5:00pm, Tuesday 17th July 2012
WHERE: Building EA.G.18, UWS Parramatta campus, cnr James Ruse Drive and Victoria Road, Rydalmere



16 July 2012

Contact: Danielle Roddick, Senior Media Officer