A conference focusing on ways of dealing with postnatal depression affecting mothers, partners and families has attracted 15 expert speakers from across Australia, who will address early childhood workers and health professionals from the Northern Rivers and beyond, immediately after the Anzac Day long weekend.

The conference, ‘Preventing the bough from breaking – new approaches to postnatal depression, bonding and attachment’ will be at The Byron at Byron Resort, Spa and Conference Centre on Monday 28th and Tuesday 29th April and has been organised by the Family Support Network Inc in Lismore.

Family Support Network manager Liz Brown said that according to conference supporter beyond blue (the national depression initiative), one in seven Australian mothers suffered from postnatal depression, but many more cases go unreported in areas such as the Northern Rivers. 

“The calibre of the presenters and the wide-ranging conference content meant that delegate registrations were achieved in record time,” she said.

“The speakers include Professor Jeannette Milgrom, an author and expert on methods of treating postnatal depression, and Richard Fletcher from Newcastle University who specialises in issues affecting fathers who suffer from PND – a surprisingly common occurrence.

“Other speakers include researchers and practitioners working with migrant and indigenous communities and many will report on successful programs operating in New South Wales and other States in Australia.

“Over half the conference delegates are from Lismore and surrounding areas and the information they absorb will be of tremendous benefit to mothers, partners and families suffering from postnatal depression, in our region.”      

A highlight of the conference will be the launch of a self-help DVD and accompanying 128-page workbook commissioned by the Family Support Network in Lismore aimed at GPs, counsellors and early childhood and health professionals as well individuals affected by postnatal depression, who can use the DVD and workbook at home.

It is planned to distribute this new resource Australia-wide.

The DVD and workbook will be launched by Professor Milgrom at 1.20pm on Mondayl, following a preview screening.

The conference will be opened by the Federal Member for Page, Janelle Saffin, at 8.30am on Monday.

There will be a Welcome to Country from Arakwal elder Delta Kay and an address by Byron Shire Mayor Jan Barham.

The conference convenor is Lismore City Councillor Jenny Dowell, President of the Northern Rivers Social Development Council