“Perinatal anxiety and depression

affects up to one in five expecting or new mums and one in ten expecting or new dads.”



In this one hour presentation with Josie, you will learn about perinatal anxiety and depression, specifically, the signs and symptoms, impacts of the illness and what you can do to support someone struggling.

Josie experienced perinatal anxiety and depression with both of her children and since recovering has been volunteering for the past four years, with Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia, as a community educator and champion. Josie also uses her lived experience to raise awareness, reduce shame and stigma and encourages affected people to seek help through her venture ‘Smiling after PND’.


"Caring and educating children is something that all our educators are passionate about, but this just doesn't stop with the children it includes their parents, the most influential people in children's lives.  This year we were fortunate to have Josie come and talk to our staff team about PND and the role we can play.  Josie's presentation was very real, heartfelt and honest as well as providing us with strategies and the courage to initiate conversations.  As a staff team we are more informed about what to look for, and how we can help.  As an organisation we have implemented some changes to ensure that we are checking in with all new mum's and dad's - these changes can potentially make a significant impact in many lives.  Thanks Josie - we would not be doing this without you."
Christine O'Reilly
Centre Director | Auburn Kindergarten and Child Care Centre
"The education of healthcare professionals within our services is a crucial part of the services that we provide at MHW in our perinatal mental health service. Josie worked with myself and PANDA to provide an educational session at our hospital grand round that was extremely well received by all who attended, including obstetricians, midwives, allied health and mental health clinicians. She gave well-articulated thoughtful reflections on her own experiences of having lived through anxiety and depression in the post-natal period including some tangible strategies for how health professionals could ‘Ask the questions about mental health of the women they are working with’ and respond in ways that were helpful and supportive for women. Everyone who attended the session expressed the view that they had gained valuable insights into the impact that living with a mental health disorder can have on a person and strategies for how to speak with women about their mental health from the session. Josie is an excellent speaker and her thoughtful, sensitive reflections on her experiences provided a very powerful learning opportunity for everyone who attended. I very much recommend having Josie provide a session for your organisation. "
Dr Gaynor Blankley
Psychiatrist, Mercy Perinatal
"In 2019 the Trainers and myself at Vision Personal Training Hawthorn was fortunate to have Josie come and talk about PND and the role that we can play with our clients. As Personal Trainers we have such a responsibility to build connections with our clients and help them grow into the best version of themselves. Josie presentation was heartfelt, real and honest. She provided us with strategies and the courage to initiate conversations with those around us. We are more informed about what to look for and how we can help start those conversations or lend an ear to listen. We have all made an effort to ensure that we are keeping an ear out and checking in with new mums and dads in the Studio. Thank you so much Josie, we have learnt so much from you doing this with us, we are very appreciative. "
Courtney Lornie
Manager | Vision Personal Training Hawthorn 
“In late 2019 I had the pleasure of attending a PANDA – Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia education session for student midwives co-facilitated by Sarah Marlowe and Josie Ruggieri at Australian Catholic University, where I was working as a midwifery lecturer at the time. Josie’s role within the session was to draw on her lived experience of perinatal mental illness and suicidality to help students understand what it is like to experience these challenges, and how midwives and other health professionals can help to make a difference. It was clear that Josie’s ability to share her story in a very authentic and sensitive way had a real impact on students – they reflected in the weeks following that Josie’s story would stay with them, and help them to prioritise perinatal mental health in their own midwifery practice. Watching Josie share her story I was really struck by her insight and empathy relating not only to her own experiences but to the health professionals who had cared for her around the time of her births. In my experience it is rare to find someone who can meaningfully reflect on things from different perspectives, and I think it really helped the students gain an understanding of the complexity of perinatal mental health for both parents and care providers. I cannot recommend Josie highly enough for future speaking opportunities. Her passion and dedication to perinatal mental health is inspiring and a catalyst for both practice health and increased awareness amongst current and future parents.”
Dr. Laura Biggs
Research Coordinator | Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA)
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