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Perinatal Depression & Anxiety Awareness Week

November 15th, 2017

This week, 12 – 18 November, is Perinatal Anxiety Awareness Week.

Karen Hazell Raine – Clinical Lead State Wide Outreach Perinatal Service for Mental Health (SwOPS-mh), has kindly provided a blog for this awareness week.


Maternal and infant mental health

It’s Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Awareness Week 12 – 18 November 2017!

Why not just Postnatal Depression?

Advancements in research have led to new understanding, that the concept of ‘postnatal depression’ is now outdated. Approximately one in five women experience a mental health problem during pregnancy and/or during the first year after giving birth to a baby. The perinatal period refers to the time from conception, through pregnancy and the first postnatal year. Depression, anxiety, and a variety of other mental health problems are as common during pregnancy as the postnatal period. New research confirms that many women who experience depressive symptoms during the perinatal period, have previously experienced a mental health problem. Depressive and anxiety symptoms are very common throughout the perinatal period, but for most women, these symptoms are temporary and resolve when stress and worries reduce. For some women, just getting support to have a good sleep can resolve symptoms of depression and anxiety, but for others, a range of more serious mental health problems can emerge.

Image result for postnatal depression images

Myth busting

We all want to think about pregnancy and having a baby as a very happy and special time, however not all pregnancies are a planned, wanted, or uneventful. Childbirth has historically been known to be potentially dangerous, and parenting a newborn baby can be unexpectedly demanding. Physical, social, relationship and psychological changes inherent to pregnancy and parenting can pose ongoing challenging issues for families. Women who have previously experienced a mental health problem may be more vulnerable to relapse or recurrence of the condition during the hurly-burly of stress and change inherent to pregnancy and parenting a newborn.

Is there treatment and hope for perinatal mental health problems and illness?


Our understanding and treatment for perinatal mental health problems and illnesses have improved rapidly over the past fifty years. For some women, adjusting medications or commencing new medications is essential, particularly for women who have ever experienced psychosis or who have an episode of psychosis for the first time, around the time of childbirth.

Perinatal mental health treatment is now community focused, aiming to care for pregnant women, mothers, and their babies at home with the support of their family and friends.

Research now confirms that old fashioned wisdom passed down from our grandmothers, is very good medicine for pregnant women and mothers. That is, a good healthy diet of fresh fruit, vegetables and homemade meals, quality sleep and regular exercise promotes mental health during the perinatal and early parenting period. Talking therapies are also excellent and can be as effective and maintain good outcomes for longer than medications. There are also very good, free, online treatments which women can take part in from the comfort of their own home.

Health Professionals throughout Australia now have access to guidelines focused on helping to identify women who may be at risk of developing mental health problems, with increasing understanding of the whole context for each woman. Check out this recent media article published on the Sydney Morning Herald over the weekend.

New guidelines recommend screening all pregnant women for perinatal depression.

Stigma and perinatal mental health problems

Although around 20 percent of women experience one or more mental health problems during the perinatal period, there is still a great deal of associated stigma.

Think for a moment about your own attitudes. Would you feel as comfortable talking with your family and going to see your GP or other Health Professional, about a possible mental health problem, as you would about possible diabetes, asthma, or other health problems?

We all can take part in shaping attitudes to mental health problems, starting with our own.  Although acknowledging and seeking help for mental health problems during pregnancy and parenting should be as comfortable for women as it would be for asthma or diabetes, some women fear that they will be judged negatively as a mother. These women are at risk of suffering alone with mental health problems and not getting adequate support to have a confident and comfortable relationship with their baby.

The good news!

The CARE Study, supported by WMRF, is focused on identifying, from early pregnancy, women who require additional support to develop a confident and comfortable relationship with their baby, and who might be prone to developing mental health problems.

Current research tells us that early Child Adult Relationship Experiences (CARE) shape the health, mental health, and development for the next generation of parents. The CARE Study is bringing to the field of perinatal mental health, a crucial focus on promoting and supporting positive early parent-infant relationships.

If you would like to help support this project, please click on the heart to donate WMRF Heart

Useful links:

Life Resolutions: Perinatal And Postnatal Counselling Support For Mothers – 1300 739 531

PANDA National Helpline – 1300 726 306

BeyondBlue – 1300 22 4636

For more information about supporting Westmead Medical Research Foundation please contact us on

1800 639 037 or via email.

    WMRF Heart

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World Diabetes Day - 14 November

November 14th, 2017

An article by Lindsay M: Lindsay’s mission is aligned with that of Public Health Corps, which is to provide reputable and useful public information on health topics.

Living with Diabetes: The Importance of Oral Health and How to Stick with Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits

Many people are aware that diabetes can negatively affect the skin, nerves, kidneys, and pancreas. But diabetes can impact nearly every major body system, including the mouth, which encompasses the teeth, gums, jaw, tongue, inside of the cheeks, and the roof and floor of the mouth. The importance of oral health in those with diabetes is twofold. First, gum disease can be more severe and take longer to heal if you have diabetes. On the flipside, having gum disease can make your blood glucose more difficult to control.


Glucose is present in everyone’s saliva. However, people with uncontrolled diabetes have abnormally high glucose levels in their saliva, helping harmful bacteria grow, which forms plaque. People who don’t practice good oral hygiene also have issues with plaque buildup. If not removed, plaque hardens into tartar, and tartar makes it more difficult to brush and clean between your teeth, leading to red and swollen gums that bleed easily – also known as gingivitis.


Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis, an infection of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place. If periodontitis is not treated, the gums, bones, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. If you’ve already suffered loss from periodontal disease, dental implants may be a safe and convenient option that yields natural-looking and natural-feeling teeth. You can chew food and clean teeth with no difficulties, maintain the structure of the bone, avoid having to file down adjacent teeth, and not worry with special denture glues.

Oral burning, thrush, and dry mouth are also common mouth issues experienced by those with diabetes. Oral burning causes a burning feeling in the mouth, dry mouth, and a bitter taste. Thrush causes painful white/red patches on your gums, tongue, cheeks, or the roof of your mouth that can turn into open sores. Besides discomfort, dry mouth can cause soreness, ulcers, infections, cracked lips, tooth decay, and problems chewing, eating, swallowing, or talking.

Controlling blood glucose levels is the key to preventing mouth issues, as people with poor blood glucose control suffer from gum disease more often and more severely than those with well-controlled levels. Properly brushing and flossing your teeth and regularly visiting your dentist are equally as important. Also, smoking worsens mouth issues, makes controlling blood glucose levels more difficult, and increases the chances of serious complications from diabetes. As such, the cessation of smoking is vital.


Getting into the practice of better dental habits is important. If you aren’t sure if you’re properly flossing or brushing, ask your dentist. You can also research online for guidelines, photos, and videos. Brush gently using circular motions along the gum line and all areas of your teeth. You should also brush over the inside of your cheeks, gums, roof of your mouth, and tongue. Don’t forget to floss every day to get rid of plaque. If plaque has hardened into tartar, visit the dentist for a cleaning.

Dentists recommend using an electric toothbrush, which makes brushing fast, easy, and fun while also being gentle on gums. You can also try a water flosser instead of traditional floss. Some people find plaque-disclosing products (chewable tablets or mouth rinse) to be helpful. These products highlight areas of buildup you miss by changing colors on the areas so you’ll know where to brush better (not harder!).

You should be brushing your teeth every morning and evening. Whether you set an alarm or bring your toothbrush with you, find a way to make it part of your routine. Also, find a way to help you brush for the proper time. You can use a timer that beeps every 30 seconds to let you know to move on to the next quadrant of your mouth, or you can try singing, listening to a song, or watching TV while you brush and floss.

Diabetes can cause serious problems for many areas of your body, including your mouth. Luckily, you can do something about it. Keeping your glucose in check and following a healthy diet are not only guidelines for diabetes treatment; these steps will also benefit your oral health. You should also follow proper oral hygiene habits, such as brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist every six months. If you fall short for any of these habits, start working on getting them to stick today.

    WMRF Heart 

Related links:

New treatment on the horizon for type 1 diabetes sufferers – From The Westmead Institute

The Effects of Diabetes on Your Body

Diabetes, Gum Disease, & Other Dental Problems

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Thank you Lexus of Parramatta

November 14th, 2017

Thank you to Lexus Parramatta for once again supporting us with our fundraising initiatives and donating a very generous prize used at our most recent fundraising event, Charity Golf Day by Arab Bank Australia. One lucky winner received a 3 day Lexus drive experience with a $200 restaurant voucher – valued over $1600!

It is this kind of generosity that supports the work we do for medical research and patient care WMRF Heart

Winner of Lexus prize pack!

To see more about the #ABAcharitygolf see the links below and for more photos visit us on Instagram

To find out how to support the work of WMRF, contact 1800 639 037 or email us.

    WMRF Heart

Teeing off for Medical Research & Patient Care

#ABAcharitygolf November 9, 2017Twincreeks Golf ClubWestern Sydney Health #ArabBankAustralia Lexus Of Parramatta Vittoria Coffee 💙💚

Posted by Westmead Medical Research Foundation on Thursday, 9 November 2017

The Brunch, Diamonds & Pearls


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Teeing off for Medical Research & Patient Care

November 14th, 2017

#ABAcharitygolf November 9, 2017Twincreeks Golf ClubWestern Sydney Health #ArabBankAustralia Lexus Of Parramatta Vittoria Coffee 💙💚

Posted by Westmead Medical Research Foundation on Thursday, 9 November 2017

For the third consecutive year, Arab Bank Australia (ABA) has proudly supported the work of Westmead Medical Research Foundation (WMRF) through their Charity Golf Day.



This year 20 teams registered and played on the day. Nearly 100 players and guests attended the event where over $24,000 was raised towards the support of medical research and patient care projects at Westmead.


A glorious day at the Twin Creeks Country and Golf Club on Thursday 9 November.  It was great to see so many golfers supporting such a great cause.  Another special mention and thanks to our Co-Sponsor Construction Consultants, our shirt sponsor BP Australia and our Event Sponsor Billbergia, to all our hole sponsors and donors and to the players – the day wouldn’t have been such a success without your friendship, support and giving nature.  A great overall result,” said Joe Rizk, Managing Director and CEO of Arab Bank Australia.

WMRF provides support across all aspects of the precinct through its fundraising and awareness initiatives to support the dedicated staff and patients who visit Westmead.


It’s right to say that the Foundation is truly engaged with the community throughout their lifespan, funding state-of the-art medical equipment, life-saving research and enhanced patient services for Westmead Hospital and The Westmead Institute for Medical Research.

All of this would not be possible without the generous contributions we receive from donors like Arab Bank Australia and its corporate partners – a dedicated group who supports this fantastic fundraising event,”said Joe Conneely, Head of Development at WMRF.


For more photos visit us on our Instagram!  

To find out how to support the work of WMRF, contact 1800 639 037 or email us.

    WMRF Heart

Don’t forget to check out our 2017 Christmas Appeal and please share!

Related links:

Teeing off for medical research & patient care

Events 2017

The Brunch, Diamonds & Pearls

Thank you Lexus of Parramatta

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Your gift this Christmas makes a real difference, thank you!

November 8th, 2017


My whole world stopped, my heart broke and my family was hurting,” remembers Snezana, a young mother to three boys, a wife and a cancer survivor.

Click below to view more



For more information about supporting Westmead Medical Research Foundation please contact us on

1800 639 037 or via email.

    WMRF Heart

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Fantastic Results From Our Bowral Classic Charity Heroes!

October 30th, 2017

CONGRATULATIONS to our Charity Heroes!

This year’s Bowral Classic was held over the weekend, Sunday 22, October 2017 in the beautiful Southern Highlands, NSW.

Our inspirational charity heroes that participated this year and fund-raised are, Dr Philip Lee, Michael Fawke and David O’Connell. Thank you for your extraordinary achievement and for helping us support the delivery of medical research & patient care for Western Sydney and beyond!

Dr Philip Lee (retired)

Dr Philip Lee before starting his 160km ride

“Successfully completed the 160 Kms just under 6 hours. Exhausted but very satisfied” – Dr Philip Lee

Michael Fawke

Why did you join the Bowral Classic?

“I joined the Bowral Classic because it’s the one event where I’m just competing against myself.  I enter occasional competitive events, and I do two “away” events a year with friends – but this event is my personal challenge. “

“This is Harry, he’s an identical twin, he and his brother (Ryan) were born at Canberra Hospital at 28w/3d.  Ryan, the lucky bugger, was born frank breach and came out completely unscathed – but Harry had a Grade 4 brain hemorrhage.  He has slight cerebral palsy, a very dodgy eye, and two years ago he spent four days in Westmead Children’s hospital having his hydrocephalus investigated.  He and his twin have been involved in every research study they were eligible for, as we understand the value of scientific research and the debt we owe (as a family) to medical research.  So when I looked through the list of charities we could select from – the choice was obvious.” – Michael stated.



Michael shared his Bowral experience:

I went “OK”, the plan was to ride conservatively, as I have an injured hamstring and couldn’t afford to make a real effort.  Surprisingly, I was seven minutes quicker that last year… And there’s always next year.   A good 10.5 hours of sleep at the end of the day before the obligatory “recovery ride” to get some coffee, then drove back to Canberra […]

Michael also provided some awesome photos from the day before and after the event, visit our  Instagram account!


For more information about supporting Westmead Medical Research Foundation please contact Marlene Nasr, Community Relations & Events Manager on 1800 639 037 or via email.

    WMRF Heart

Related links:

Events 2017

Run or Ride for Medical Research – June 28th, 2017

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Wolves Win Game for Westmead’s Cancer Centre

October 27th, 2017

For over five years, Merrylands Rugby Union Club has been raising funds for Westmead Medical Research Foundation (WMRF), with donations totalling over $16,000 in support of Westmead’s Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre (CPMCC).

The inspiration of the Club’s traditional and annual fundraising event “Mrs P’s Day” is Helen “Mrs P” Fraser, a woman who was truly dedicated to Merrylands Rugby Club, initially supporting her husband Steve Parker and then her son Michael who was playing when he was just 16!

Helen was given the task of managing scoresheets on the sideline and she later became Vice-President. Sadly, Helen passed away at a far too young age, but left a legacy of spirit and commitment that is so important for the Club.

This year, the Club wanted to remember Jade Taivairanga during the fundraising event. Jade was a former Wolves player who passed away after a short but ferocious battle with cancer.

The 2017 fundraising event “Mrs P’s Day for Jay” took place in August and was held at Holroyd Sports Ground.

Jade was one of the good guys, a fabulous rugby player that played with the club from 2009 to 2011. This year we wanted to honour him also and therefore we celebrated Mrs P’s Day for Jay,” said Laura Sturrock, Secretary of Merrylands Rugby Union Club.


The match on “Mrs P’s Day for Jay” kept the Wolves fans on the edge of their seats since after a disappointing first half, they came back from 26-5 to 26 all. Then pushed it out to a final and winning score of 40-26. Wolves have never lost a Mrs P’s Day match, and the 2017 game was not going to be the exception!


We are very thankful to Merrylands Rugby Union Club and to everyone who supported this fundraising initiative. The ongoing generosity of the Club through their fundraising activities since 2012 is an example of their commitment to help us to support the delivery of medical research & patient care,” said Marlene Nasr, Community Relations & Events Manager at WMRF.


For more information about supporting Westmead Medical Research Foundation via hosting a fundraising event, please contact Marlene Nasr, Community Relations & Events Manager via email or on 1800 639 037.

    WMRF Heart

Related links:

Mrs P’s fundraising event for CPMCC – WMRF News

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Accurate Nutrition Supports Recovery in ICU

October 25th, 2017

Assessing the energy and nutrition requirements of critically ill patient is incredibly difficult. The team at Westmead Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) are acutely aware of the importance of meeting these needs. Timely nutrition therapy decreases mortality rates for patients in the ICU.

Westmead Medical Research Foundation (WMRF) received a generous donation totalling $111k from the RP Medical Fund, the Baxter Charitable Foundation and the E B Myer Charity Fund as part of Perpetual’s IMPACT Philanthropy Program.

These funds allowed the purchase of an ‘Indirect Calorimeter’ to precisely measure Resting Energy Expenditure, enabling physicians and dieticians to accurately prescribe the nutrition needs of each patient (image above).

Malnutrition in patients increases the risk of infection, leads to poor wound healing, increases time on the ventilator and causes a longer length of stay in the ICU and the hospital.


“The Calorimeter is now in its implementation stage with six ICU patients per week having their nutrition requirements calculated by a more accurate method. We cannot thank enough the donors who enabled the purchase of this equipment,” said Peter Talbot, Head Dietetics and Nutrition at Westmead Hospital.

The Philanthropy team from Perpetual recently visited Westmead Hospital and had the opportunity to see the Calorimeter in operation.

Pictured left to right: Joe Conneely (Head of Development, WMRF), Peter Talbot (Head Dietetics and Nutrition at Westmead Hospital), Tracey Hammond and Liz Wheatley from Perpetual

“This equipment represents the type of positive outcomes that Perpetual seeks via our IMPACT funding program. This is a great example of the value Philanthropy brings to the critical medical research segment, which we have been able to facilitate on behalf of our clients,” said Liz Wheatley, Perpetual Senior Adviser.

For more information about supporting medical research & patient care, email or call us on 1800 639 037WMRF Heart


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