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Tegan Luker with her twins Reuben and Hazel, now 11 months (The Catholic Leader)

A Brisbane mum has revealed how Queensland’s first dedicated centre for new parents experiencing mental health challenges “saved her life” just weeks after her twins were born. Source: The Catholic Leader.

Ferny Grove mum Tegan Luker, 37, said the support she received at Catherine’s House for Mothers, Babies and Families, located at Mater’s South Brisbane campus, helped her through some of the darkest moments in her life.

Ms Luker began experiencing suicidal thoughts after giving birth to her twins Reuben and Hazel, now 11 months old.

She is one of more than 80 new mothers to have been cared for by a multidisciplinary team at Catherine’s House since it opened 12 months ago.

One in five Queensland mothers and up to one in ten fathers experience perinatal mental health challenges in the first year after their baby’s arrival.

A partnership between Mater and Queensland Health has enabled Catherine’s House to deliver a dedicated in-patient unit with 10 rooms, where both public and private patients with acute perinatal mental health diagnoses can stay with their babies while receiving treatment and care.

Ms Luker was diagnosed with anxiety and depression at Catherine’s House and was admitted for seven weeks at the centre with Reuben and Hazel by her side.

She said she was extremely grateful that the newly opened unit meant there was almost no wait time to receive the care she desperately needed.

Catherine’s House peer support workers Taryn Collins and Genevieve Heraghty connected with Ms Luker through sharing their own lived experience of perinatal mental illness and their journey to recovery.

Ms Collins said Ms Luker was provided with practical support for Reuben and Hazel as needed, including feeding, settling and playing.

“Catherine’s House enabled Tegan to build a confidence with her twins that she had struggled with previously, and to strengthen her bond with them,” Ms Collins said. 

Mater Young adult health senior manager Greg McGahan said Catherine’s House was made possible by $17.6 million in generous community donations to Mater Foundation.


Mater’s ‘life-saving’ Catherine’s House celebrates one-year milestone (The Catholic Leader)