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We treat Mental Health with great sincerity at Rokeby GP. Many of our physicians have significant interest and experience in depression and anxiety disorders, and strive to provide an open and welcoming environment to all afflicted by this illness.

Our doctors are also adept at recognizing other mental health disorders, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and drug/alcohol addiction. Management of these disorders is usually conducted by a specialist, so we will help you find the right management option that works best for you.

Our dedication to mental health has been evident since the founding of our clinic. We actively opened this service upon establishment as we believe it is an area of medicine that requires great attention and awareness.

We will endeavour to help guide and support you through this, at times, difficult process.

Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety affects a large percentage of our population. Over the years awareness and acceptance of these illnesses has increased, yet many people still remain quiet, or disbelieving, of their condition.

We all get down or anxious to some degree, however it becomes an illness when it has a significant affect on quality of life, lasts a significant period of time, or affects our ability to function socially or in the workplace.

The positive news is depression and anxiety have safe and effective treatments.

These disorders can be managed via three methods:

Self-Help

Self-help is a major weapon in the treatment of mental illnesses. Your doctor will help guide you in what you can do yourself. Self education, physical exercise, relaxation exercises, problem solving (e.g. addressing work-life balance), adequate sleep, and a healthy lifestyle are examples of self-help opportunities.

Recommended websites:

Depression and bipolar disorder: blackdoginstitute.org.au

Anxiety disorders: crufad.org

Perinatal and general mental health: beyondblue.org.au

General psychiatric problems: psychcentral.org

 

Psychotherapy

This is therapy conducted between a patient and a qualified therapist. It is an open communication process that many patients find enjoyable and rewarding.

A GP Mental Health Treatment Plan, as issued through your doctor at Rokeby GP, offers patients a Medicare rebate of approximately $120 per psychotherapy session, lasting six sessions (with further renewals possible) dependent on clinical need –providing an effective and inexpensive form of treatment.

To find out more about psychologists and your entitlements from Medicare, please click here.

To find out what a mental health care plan, please click here

Medication

Anti-depressants are a safe, effective, and non-addictive form of medication. If side effects surface, they can often be easily managed, or an alternative antidepressant prescribed.

Getting the most out of antidepressants requires skill and experience from the prescribing doctor. Sometimes the first medication works but often juggling of medications and dosages is required. Sometimes combinations of medications are needed. You can be confident your Rokeby GP doctor is well trained in this area.

Excellent Pathways to Care

Communication is key to the treatment of all mental illnesses. Whether openly and honestly communicating with patients, or to a patient’s treating obstetrician, therapist, child health nurse, or local PND Support Group, we can co-operatively treat and manage the expectant mother’s health earlier and more effectively.

Our physicians conduct a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan with all new or expectant mothers experiencing perinatal or postnatal depression. For more information on the benefits and Medicare rebates associated with this service, please consult the Psychotherapy section above.

Seeking help from a support group can also prove very advantageous. Please contact your local community nurse to find out which services are recommended to meet your needs.

To find out more about psychologists and Medicare rebates, please click here

We Believe in Raising Community Awareness

We are currently raising awareness of perinatal disorders throughout Subiaco and the surrounding communities. Perinatal disorders do not discriminate, and can affect women from all social and economic backgrounds. Preparing adequately for the birth of a baby can be difficult, and is often laced and pressured with unrealistic expectations.

The Rokeby GP Better Beginnings Program and the industry’s research into perinatal depression were featured in The West Australian Newspaper on the 1st August, 2012.

To read the articles, please click on the following links: A Better StartWhen Joy Turns Into Anxiety, and Mental Health Important For New Mums.

If you’d like to help raise community awareness and assist in de-stigmatising postnatal disorders, please visit and participate in the “Just Speak Up” campaign on the beyondblue website. We encourage all our patients to read the many stories submitted from women who have been brave enough to share their experiences with postnatal mental health disorders. We hope through these stories, and your participation, we can all work together to encourage all women to seek the necessary treatment, free from fear or stigmatisation.

Click here to find out more justspeakup.com.au

We encourage any mothers who have experienced depression/and or anxiety to take part in a new beyondblue online survey. The survey hopes to establish an insight into emotional and mental health symptoms experienced during pregnancy and the post-birth year.

For more information and to participate in the survey, please click here

Dr. Luise Thorpe

Dr. Luise Thorpe

I enjoy providing my patients with high-quality, patient-focused, educational discussions in regular, everyday language.

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Dr. Luise Thorpe
Dr. Cathryn Higgins

Dr. Cathryn Higgins

I look forward to meeting you, and being involved with your health and well-being at Rokeby GP.

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Dr. Cathryn Higgins
Dr. Gary Ward

Dr. Gary Ward

My interests are in diagnostic medicine for people of all ages and I am especially passionate about preventive health and the promotion of high-level wellness with physical and emotional resilience.

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Dr. Gary Ward
Dr. Shane Morley

Dr. Shane Morley

I am passionate about general practice and believe excellence should be continually strived for by GP’s.

Meet our Doctors
Dr. Shane Morley
Dr. Patrick Garratt

Dr. Patrick Garratt

I continually strive to work with patients to optimise both their physical and mental health by practicing the highest quality medicine, and above all, showing care.

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Dr. Patrick Garratt
Dr. Sarah Humphry

Dr. Sarah Humphry

I have a special interest in women’s and children’s health and have completed extra training in these areas. I have a strong interest in chronic conditions, diabetes and mental health.

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Dr. Sarah Humphry

Rokeby GP’s Better Beginnings Program for Expectant and New Mums

Pregnancy and childhood is a period in life traditionally associated with great happiness and celebration. However, the transition to parenthood can be overwhelming, bringing dramatic physical, emotional, and social distress to many women.

Despite the prevalence and awareness of antenatal and postnatal depression and other related disorders, most women remain unidentified and untreated. Postnatal depression can often be used as a broad term to cover all postnatal disorders, such as postnatal anxiety, bipolar, and post-partum psychosis. These more complex conditions require early detection as they require specialised management and treatment.

Around one in four postnatal mothers in Australia will experience a depressive symptom/disorder in the first twelve months following birth.

Our physicians therefore believe it is paramount to treat a woman’s mental health to the same level of importance as her physical health. Pregnant women are routinely checked for iron levels, diabetes, and blood pressure – yet their emotional health is often overlooked.

Early detection of mental health disorders through screening and assessment can reduce the serious damage depression may have on all women, and consequently negate the negative effects depression may have on the baby’s development, and family life.

Management of antenatal and postnatal mothers include:

  • Consultations with our physicians specialising in “Detecting and Managing Perinatal Mental Health Disorders in Primary Care.”
  • Medicare funded routine and universal screening for perinatal depression and anxiety.
  • Medicare funded routine psychosocial assessment.
  • Follow-up support and mental health treatment plans for women assessed as being at risk of or experiencing perinatal disorders
  • Pharmacological and non-pharmacological management.
  • Collaboration between our GP’s and treating obstetricians, hospitals, therapists, and postnatal support groups.
  • Continuity of care during the antenatal and postnatal period.

National Perinatal Depression Initiative 2008-2013 and New Clinical Practice Guidelines

Our physicians support the National Perinatal Depression Initiative 2008-2013, a program that aims to improve the prevention, detection, and treatment of antenatal and postnatal disorders, and to provide better care and support.

At Rokeby GP we have developed our own system combining key elements from the National Perinatal Mental Health Initiative 2008-2013, Clinical Practice Guidelines: Depression and Related Disorders – Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder and Puerperal Psychosis (NHMRC, 2011), and our own physician’s initiatives.

Our program is available to all expectant and new mothers.

Medicare Funded Postnatal Depression/Anxiety Screening and Psychosocial Assessments

Psychosocial testing is important as it provides a better understanding of the pre-existing vulnerabilities, stressors, and support mechanisms in a new or expectant mother’s life. For treating physicians, this is a unique opportunity to assess and optimise an expectant mother’s mental health as early as possible.

Our qualified physicians and nurses conduct numerous routine screenings before and after birth using our customised Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), and psychosocial assessments: Antenatal Risk Questionnaire (ANRQ), Postnatal Risk Questionnaire (PNRQ), and the Perinatal Anxiety Screening Test (PASS).

Our GP’s Specialise in Perinatal Mental Health

Our physicians have considerable experience treating women with perinatal disorders in both pharmacological and non-pharmacological engagements.

Rokeby GP has six physicians specialising in our ‘Rokeby GP Better Beginnings Program,’ a program dedicated to the successful detection and management of perinatal mental health disorders in primary care. They have all completed recent beyondblue mental health training, so their knowledge of perinatal disorders is current and relevant to recent changes in health research.

Dr. Yvonne Tan

Dr. Yvonne Tan

I am married to a not so intense Intensive Care Physician, and I am the proud mother of two children. When I’m not at work, my interests include…

Better Beginnings Doctors
Dr. Yvonne Tan
Dr. Jane Spencer

Dr. Jane Spencer

I am happily married with two young children. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and gardening. I was born in Subiaco and grew…

Better Beginnings Doctors
Dr. Jane Spencer
Dr. Michelle Rooke

Dr. Michelle Rooke

Born and raised in Perth, I am keen to take advantage of what our wonderful environment has to offer, and as such, enjoy sailing, cycling, and hiking. It…

Better Beginnings Doctors
Dr. Michelle Rooke
Dr. Christina Lind

Dr. Christina Lind

One of my key principles in medical practice is to pass on as much information as possible to patients – to help each person understand their conditions and treatment options.

Better Beginnings Doctors
Dr. Christina Lind
Dr. Shane Morley

Dr. Shane Morley

I am passionate about general practice and believe excellence should be continually strived for by GP’s.

Better Beginnings Doctors
Dr. Shane Morley

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