New Director at Catherine’s House – Mater Moves to Kangaroo Point To Take on Inaugural Role

New Director at Mater Takes on Inaugural Role at Catherine's House

Infant and perinatal psychiatrist Dr Beth Mah has moved to Brisbane from New South Wales to take on the inaugural role of Director of Catherine’s House for Mothers, Babies and Families at Mater Hill.

“Goosebumps” is how the former Saint John of God Healthcare clinical lead psychiatrist described what she felt about the prospects of leading Mater’s new perinatal mental health centre and its multidisciplinary team of psychiatrists, lactation consultations, allied health practitioners, paediatricians, nurses, and other professionals.

Queensland’s first integrated perinatal mental health service, Catherine’s House is set to open in early 2023. The facility will cater to parents experiencing serious depression, anxiety and other mental health issues around the birth of their baby. Here, they can stay with their infants whilst receiving treatment. 

Catherine’s House, formerly Sisters of Mercy convent, features a comprehensive, integrated perinatal mental health service including 10 in-patient beds that are available for public and private patients. There’s also a Parent Support Centre for parents and babies up to six months after birth, a home-visiting service to help improve infant-parent relationships, individual and group therapy treatments and day programs.

“Catherine’s House will be helping women who are not well enough to be looked after in their own community,” Dr Mah, from Kangaroo Point, said.

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“We will also admit mums who are suffering post-partum psychosis, which is a severe and debilitating illness that really interrupts family life, and mums who have complex and numerous diagnoses that often stem from childhood trauma, severe depression, and anxiety.

“It makes me feel very proud and excited. I am so impressed with the huge body of work my colleagues have done over the past years to get this project to where it is today, close to opening.”

Dr Mah, 56, is the recipient of more than 10 research scholarships, including a grant from the Hunter Children’s Research Foundation for Neurofeedback for complex PTSD symptoms in Aboriginal foster children. 

“I want families to palpably feel that we respect their growth as a parent,” she said. 

“We want them to use the time in our centre to settle the symptoms they are struggling with to become the kind of parent they want to be.

The fit-for-purpose, custom-built Catherine’s House was delivered through community donations to Mater Foundation amounting to more than $17 million, as well as funding from the State Government.

Published 29-January-2023