‘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 If someone is depressed or so withdrawn because they’ve got psychotic illness, then it makes it really hard.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.’
‘One of the more interesting jobs I’ve attended was carrying a 220kg naked man out of a brothel. We had to take him out of the window because they couldn’t manoeuvre him around.
‘We also get calls for cats in trees and snakes in gardens. We got called to someone who had a parrot up a tree and thought we could get it down. It obviously had just flown off. We also get calls for various drug labs on fire. Only about 10% of our calls now are to actual fires.
‘The first sign we did coincided with Mardi Gras and was very successful. Shortly after that, we had the buffalo incident. People started paying attention to what we were putting up so we’ve been trying to maintain it ever since.
‘We can get away with having a bit of fun with our signs because of the local demographic here in Newtown. One other station tried it but it’s a different audience. They don’t have the buffaloes to start with!
‘I think it’s all due to frustration. I see that show Madmen when they come up with slogans and I think maybe that’s what I really wanted to do in life. It’s a missed calling!’
‘I’m doing this because I’ve been struggling with mental illness – primarily depression – for most of my life. I know what it feels like to not have anyone listen or not to have anyone to be there for me. I know how busy everybody is and I know what it feels like to be alone. I hope that by doing this that people start caring about each other and lending a hand, you know?’
If you were to give advice to a large group of people, what would it be?
‘It’s about the bigger picture. You think that the world is your little bubble but take a bird’s eye view of where you’re at. My dad actually told me that you picture your situation and then you zoom the camera out a bit and you take in the suburb you’re in and then you zoom out and take in the state and then you take in the country. It puts your experience in to perspective because there is a lot going on outside of where you are that’s also important.’
Thanks to the lovely Jo from ABCTV for this morning’s interview (her’s and mine) and a lovely hug!