Albert Road Clinic
Part of Ramsay Health Care


New treatment for Victorians targets childhood trauma

Victorians battling mental illness as a result of childhood trauma have a new treatment program to help manage their psychological and behavioural issues.

In the lead up to Mental Health Awareness Week (October 5-11) Ramsay Health Care’s Albert Road Clinic Chief Executive Officer Jane Pickworth said the new program was for adult patients who had complex trauma-related issues.

Ms Pickworth said the majority of people treated by mental health and substance abuse services had trauma histories such as childhood mental, physical and sexual abuse; neglect and domestic violence.

“Development trauma is a major risk factor for the development of psychological and behavioural problems later in life,” she said.

“We often see patients who present symptoms of complex trauma and the genesis of that can be the trauma they suffered as a child.”

“If unresolved it can negatively impact someone for their entire life.

“Childhood sexual or emotional abuse or neglect (developmental trauma) is common and leaves people with lifelong physiological and psychiatric conditions.”

The in-patient treatment program at Albert Road Clinic aims to help patients realise how their mental wellbeing has been impacted by traumatic events in their childhood.

“Initially, they are treated for the condition they present with whether it be depression, addiction, or post-traumatic stress,” Ms Pickworth said.

“Then, if developmental trauma is diagnosed, that issue is addressed. We hope this approach would help prevent future relapses.”

More than 7 million Australians aged 16 to 85 will experience a common mental health disorder during their lifetime.

Ramsay Health Care Mental Health Chair Kevin Cass-Ryall said there has been a gradual increase in the number of older people (65+ years) and younger people (16+ years) seeking assistance for a mental health condition.

“Patients want more specialised treatment and a more holistic approach to their recovery, along with a care regime that draws on a multidisciplinary team,” he said.

Ramsay Health Care, Australia’s largest private provider of acute mental health services has compiled a list of its five most commonly treated mental health disorders to help raise awareness of the conditions:

1. Mood disorders Comprise 45 per cent of all patients treated.
Includes depression, bipolar disorder, dysthymia and other disorders characterised by the elevation or lowering of mood.
2. Addictions Comprise 25 per of all patients treated.
Physical and emotional dependence on substances or behaviours which may include drugs, alcohol, gambling and/or gaming.
3. Anxiety Disorders Comprise 15 per cent of all patients treated.
Symptoms can include muscular tension, heart palpitations, inability to concentrate, sleep or undertake normal activities and a feeling of intense fear and persistent and excessive worry.
(Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Comprise 10 per cent of all patients treated.
A set of stress reactions in response to experiencing witnessing a life-threatening event such as an attack or assault, wartime conflict, natural disaster or serious accident. Symptoms may include re-experiencing the traumatic event, avoidance of any reminders, hyper-vigilance and feeling emotionally numb.
5. Psychotic Disorders Comprise 5 per cent of all patients treated.
An impaired interpretation of reality commonly associated with hallucinations and delusions

Source: Ramsay Health Care

Mental health week