My cousin, Fleur, recently told me that she’s been receiving counselling from a psychologist, as treatment for depressive episodes that she experienced following the birth of her daughter a couple on months ago. She told me that, even after only a couple of sessions, it’s been massively helpful.
I was quite surprised to hear all this, as I’d had no idea that Fleur was struggling. She told me that she’d spent some time ignoring the issue before Jake, her partner, had talked into consulting someone about it. Apparently, she’d assumed that her symptoms weren’t sufficiently severe to be taken seriously in a clinical setting, but she’d been wrong about that.
At first, Fleur said, she wasn’t sure how to go about finding a psychologist on the Mornington Peninsula, having never been to one before. She said it was pretty straightforward, and she was able to refer herself rather than going through a GP (although, from the sounds of it, it’s possible to receive Medicare rebates if you have a medical referral).
The psychologist had explained to Fleur that post-natal depression is not that uncommon, and that there are treatments available, including counselling. Fleur has only had a couple of sessions of this so far, but she said it had helped her to come to terms with her daughter’s sleeping problems not being down to her parental fitness. This, she said, was an idea she’d been secretly harbouring, but when it came to light, she was able to acknowledge that it’s a fairly unreasonable one.
When I was a kid, as I recall, my uncle Morris underwent a period of visiting a psychiatrist. Services in Mornington at that the time were not as diverse as they are now, and he had to go in to the Melbourne CBD for his appointments. I’m not sure what that was all about, but in any case, it’s handy that Fleur can have her psychology sessions close to home. No doubt, having a baby is hard enough without added logistical gymnastics around accessing mental health support.