More than 4,200 meals will be delivered to mothers at risk or experiencing perinatal depression after 13 brave Brisbane women abseiled Kangaroo Point Cliffs yesterday morning (Thursday 11).
As part of Queensland Women’s Week, the annual Leaping Ladies event – sponsored by FTI Consulting – raised more than $30,000 for mental health support services provided through White Cloud Foundation.
White Cloud Foundation founder and chairman Professor Adam Scott said he was incredibly grateful for the support by this year’s Leaping Ladies, their families and the wider Queensland community.
“Sadly, Queensland has the highest rates of perinatal depression in Australia with 1 in 7 new Mums developing depression during or post pregnancy,” Prof. Scott said.
“Through the Mum for Meals program, White Cloud Foundation delivers free home cooked meals to mums in need which helps start the conversation around their wellbeing.
“These meals are designed to nutritionally support the mother as well alleviate the stress of having to prepare food for not just herself, but other members of the family.
“Our service also provides phone support through our program coordinator.”
Melissa Whittley knows all to well how important it is to have support during and after pregnancy.
“After my first two babies were born, I experienced post-natal depression which I describe as feeling like you’re in a big black hole – you feel very isolated and alone,” Melissa said.
“I would cry for no reason, I felt claustrophobic, I wanted to run away, I refused to eat, I didn’t want to get out of bed, and I tried to push my loved ones away. I found it hard to bond with my daughter and had the same feelings after William was born.
“Fortunately, I had an amazing support network of family and friends but not all families are so lucky and that’s why I want to help other women.”
Melissa is dedicating her abseil to her third son Ari who tragically passed away, last April, at just 17 weeks.
“I am here today to honour Ari. Through his legacy, I can raise awareness and money for something so many mothers experience,” Melissa said.
“I want them to know that what they are going through is completely normal and that there are people who care for them and want to help them.”
Prof. Scott said the Meals for Mum’s program has seen a 66 percent increase in referrals in 2020 due to COVID-19 and all money raised will mean more families can be provided a safety net during the most challenging times in life.
“Every single mum we can help matters. With the funds we raised today we can support hundreds of women this year and expand our services throughout the state,” he said.
“Mums are the foundation of our community, so with Queensland Women’s Week upon us, what better time to shine a light on this issue and make a real difference.
White Cloud Foundation’s Meals for Mums program is utilised by some of the state’s busiest maternity hospitals including RBWH, Mater Mother’s, Caboolture, Redcliffe, Townsville and Gold Coast University Hospitals as well as Children’s Health Queensland. In Queensland in 2020, 441 families were supported with more than 520 referrals received and over 9,200 meals delivered.
This year’s Leaping Ladies were:
- Barbara Kassulke, Director of Investment Solutions, NAB
- Georgia Christie, Exercise Physiology Student, QUT.
- Kate Copeland, Executive Director, Metro North Hospital and Health Service
- Kylie Farrelly, Artist
- Melissa Whittley, Manager, Mykonos Apartments
- Sarah Coulthard, Dealer Assistant, Shaw and Partners
- Nicci Hinckfuss, Artist & Fashion Designer
- Claire Packer, Managing Director, FTI Consulting
- Renee Berndt, Category Lead, Aurizon
- Siobhan White, Owner, Hypoxi Bulimba
- Melissa Carter, Acting Chief Operations Office, Metro North Hospital and Health Service
- Angie Dobbrick, Acting Executive Director, Metro North Hospital and Health Service
- Jen Kinsella, Paramedic, Queensland Ambulance Service
To see all the photos from the Leaping Ladies event, visit our Facebook page.
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