Helen Mayo House
Helen Mayo House provides inpatient services for parents who have significant mental health problems in the postnatal period.
Women and carers and their infant/s aged 12 months and under can be admitted to Helen Mayo House if they are the parent with primary responsibility for the infant and have a mental illness. Mental health problems, such as severe depression, anxiety or psychotic illnesses are considered to be significant if they impact on the parent’s ability to function in everyday life and care for their child.
Your Admission to Helen Mayo House
- If you have an admission to Helen Mayo House, you can expect an average stay of two to three weeks. However, you may have a longer or shorter admission depending on your needs. During this time the team, including Psychiatrists, Nurses, Clinical Psychologist, Social Worker and Parent-Infant Therapist will provide medical and therapeutic support for you and your child.
- At the time of admission, an assessment will be made to ensure a treatment plan is developed to meet you and your child’s needs. This may include medication, counselling and specific programs such as parent-infant therapy to support the bond and attachment between you and your child. Other family and support network members may also be invited to participate in these sessions to contribute to your recovery.
- You will also have the opportunity to participate in various group programs run on the ward. Groups include activities such as Mindfulness, Skills Training, Baby Play, Art and Music sessions.
Helen Mayo House is part of the Women’s and Children’s Health Network, located at Glenside Health Services.
Helen Mayo House has individual rooms for you and your baby and shared dining, kitchen, laundry and play areas. Enclosed playpen areas are set up inside and you may like to bring in a few toys that your child can play with. There is also an enclosed outdoor play area with play equipment, swings, sand pit and a grassed area.
When admitted to Helen Mayo House, you will be responsible for the care of your child. Staff will help by providing information, advice and support as necessary and will help take direct care of your child when required. We encourage you to care for your child as much as you can, in order for build-up skills and confidence in looking after your child in preparation for returning home.
Each day a nurse will be assigned to your care. This nurse will support you through the day, not only with your mental health, but also can support you to care for your baby.
While we have set times we try and complete certain task by, we try and be as flexible as possible to meet the needs of babies and families. Outside of appointments, groups and meals you will have lots of free time to care for your baby.
Throughout the week you will meet with the medical team along with our Allied health Therapy team. Throughout your stay you will meet with our Social Worker, Psychologist, Parent Infant Therapist and Peer Worker.
Each weekday we run groups. Groups are a really important part of the stay at Helen Mayo house. Some of these groups are therapy based, some are information sharing and some are social. We ask that you make yourself available for all groups.
As you progress in your stay, you will have opportunities to take leave (normal day leave, then overnight leave) at home. This is a chance to practice being at home again and help build confidence, ready for discharge.
- As Helen Mayo House is the starting point for your road to recovery, discharge planning is an integral element of the service. Our staff will work with you, your family and your support network to identify and negotiate referrals to community based supports, services and follow up care once you leave Helen Mayo House.
- Services may include regular GP contact, parent-child therapy, parenting and play groups, psychiatrist and/or allied health follow up for your mental health issues, and Child and Family Health Services.
Visiting hours are 3.00pm – 8.00pm daily. However, flexibility of visiting hours can be negotiated – particularly for partners and other children in the family. Visiting hours may also be modified in response to your mental health needs.
At times partners or other family members may be able to stay overnight, but this is dependent on factors such as room availability and the needs of other parents and families at Helen Mayo House at the time. Having a partner or family member stay overnight needs to be discussed and negotiated with staff.
A brochure on consumer Rights and Responsibilities is provided on admission. Further information is available at:
Referral is required from your GP or Mental Health Practitioner.
Admission to Helen Mayo House is by referral only. You will need to see a medical practitioner or mental health clinician, and if it is decided that an inpatient stay in hospital is best for you and your child, they can make a referral to Helen Mayo House.
Once you are referred, you will be placed on a waiting list and be notified when a bed becomes available. Until a bed becomes available, your medical practitioner or mental health clinician will help with your mental health until admission.
Waiting times for Helen Mayo House vary, and depend on many issues, such as the age of the child and the type of mental illness.
The PANDA National Support line (1300 726 306 or panda.org.au) or ForWhen (1300 24 23 22 or www.forwhenhelpline.org.au) can provide phone counselling support during the waiting period.
Contact the Mental Health Telephone Triage Service on 13 14 65 for immediate assessment/referral and support.
Acorn groups provide an opportunity for Mothers who have diagnosed mental health difficulties to come together and be supported in their relationship with their children from birth to three years of age.
The Acorn group is structured to strengthen the relationship between parent and child through experiences of dance-play and some dedicated parent-only time for reflection through journaling.
Anglicare SA runs the Acorn groups at various locations across greater Adelaide including, Aldinga, Cowandilla, Darlington, Gawler, Gilles Plains, Mt Barker, Norwood and Salisbury North.
For more information about the Acorn Groups, please contact the Acorn Coordinator at Anglicare-SA: (08) 8131 3485 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.