‘Most of the women I see have this desire to be the perfect mother which is one of the drivers for them getting depressed and anxious. I’m a Professor of Psychiatry specialising in women’s mental health – in particular perinatal mental health. We now have screening for post-natal depression but now we need to help the child and help her parent the child so the inter-generational transmission isn’t happening.

‘The primary carer, which is quite often the mother, is the prototype for every future relationship that this child is going to have. This is where you learn trust and where you learn how to interact. If someone is depressed or so withdrawn because they’ve got psychotic illness, then it makes it really hard.

‘Unfortunately these days we’re trying to be so many things and the result for some people sadly is that they’re not doing any of them well. Guilt keeps coming up again and again – that’s a recurring theme.

‘The reality is kids will suckle the good stuff – anything you’re able to give them. Basically you’ve only got to get it right 30% of the time, try to get it right another 30% and the rest of the time, well the kids will cope!

‘Be bigger, stronger wiser and kind no matter how little you know about parenting – you know more than your child. If you don’t know it, you can find out – ask someone about it.’

For help, visit www.beyondblue.org.au.

‘I’ve been a homeless alcoholic on the streets. I’ve been an addict walking the streets when I was 16 years old up at the Cross and there were no real outlets to get help then. I think one of the strong contributing factors of depression is when you isolate yourself. You can’t isolate when you feel bad. Just pick up the phone; it’s not a backbreaking thing to do. We have the technology now – mobile phones; the internet. There are support programs anywhere and everywhere. There are phone numbers advertised on TV. You know, Beyond Blue and all that.

‘When I was younger, there was nothing you know. I just got barely through by the skin of my teeth; I really did. It was really hard dealing with depression then. There are better support avenues out there now. You need to talk to someone. Even if you’ve got one friend, one is better than none – there is always someone around.

‘Busking is like my best anti-depressant. It fills that void. It’s a guarantee that every single time I go busking, I go home feeling on top of the world. It’s always 100% guaranteed.’

Supporting Mental Health Week 5-12 October.

Seek help at Beyond Blue.

What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your life?

‘I have Borderline Personality Disorder. It really just affects me with relationships. I was diagnosed about two years ago and have been doing treatment since then. It’s slow going. It’s taken me 30 years to get like this so it’s not going to fix in a year.

‘I think it’s been getting better since I was diagnosed because it was gradually getting worse as I got older. Since I found out about it, I’ve educated myself and I feel like it’s getting better. I would encourage other people to definitely look inside themselves and try and fix what’s going on inside them to make their world a better place.

‘I’m thinking of studying psychology and specialising in Borderline Personality Disorder. Being able to help other people with it would be a fulfilling kind of thing. I’d love to eventually do that. At the moment, hairdressing is working for me because I still get to talk to people every day. It’s kind of like counselling anyway!’