Perinatal mental health and the values of ministry were the two key themes of Sister Angela Mary Doyle AO International Women’s Day message recently.

The award-winning humanitarian was our special guest speaker at the Springfield City Group International Women’s Day event where she spoke about her work supporting AIDs sufferers in the 1980s to more recently, women experiencing perinatal mental health issues and the importance of spreading awareness of the condition and the need for more services to support women and families suffering in silence.

“It’s a disturbing situation, largely hidden and if not recognised and treated, can have severe and long-lasting consequences,” Sr Doyle said.

“Surprisingly this condition affects as many as 1 in 30 pregnant women and while it may not be an overtly visible condition, many women will suffer in silence, often not understanding that they have a mental health issue.

“The effects can be distressing for the woman and those around her and if left untreated can result in adverse effects on the child, relationship breakdown, isolation and even maternal suicide.

“If this situation is to be addressed adequately, a range of services is required, including expert psychological and psychiatric support, ensuring the mother is having adequate sleep, taking her food and that mother and baby are treated together and not separately.

“Important too is support for her husband or partner who can often feel lost or bewildered in a situation with which he may not be familiar.

“Throughout Queensland there may be only four beds dedicated to this purpose, so a lot more beds need to be provided and in a loving, caring and professional way.”

This is the second visit to Springfield in recent months for Sister Angela Mary Doyle OAM who recently attended the unveiling of an artwork in her honour at Our Lady of the Southern Cross parish church.

Sister Angela Mary Doyle also spoke about her admiration for the story of Springfield and the vision of Springfield City Group Chairman Maha Sinnathamby as not just a developer but a community builder.

“People have differing ideas about what constitutes ministry- some would say ministries are about teaching, being an executive, an administrator or musician,” Sr Doyle said.

“I think these are tasks that can be carried out by anyone skilled in the field and remain tasks unless there is an underlying task or purpose behind them.

“Let me apply this to your own activities here in Springfield- you are not just constructing buildings and providing services as opportunities arise. You are building a city and have a purpose and values that underpin all of it.

“There is the very important value of being proud of your history and for each of you who are proud of Springfield City and who work to promote it, this is ministry.

“Each one of you here today possesses an intrinsic desire to be the best you can be and to promote
Springfield as a place that wants to make a positive contribution to our communities, to our country and beyond.

“In addition to unequalled leadership, lies the phenomenal success to date of Springfield.”

Springfield City Group Chairman Maha Sinnathamby has enjoyed a friendship with Sister Angela Mary Doyle OAM for many years and said her service to health and the betterment of people was inspirational.

“I admire her for her tenacity, her persistence and her never-give-up attitude,” Mr Sinnathamby said.

“We all fight for something in life, we all want to achieve something but here we have today a wonderful human being who has dedicated her life tirelessly for no reward, no self-benefit, just to uplift society.

“It’s a wonderful lesson we can all learn from.”



Some background information about Sister Angela Mary Doyle OAM:

Sr Angela Mary Doyle AO is member of the Order of the Sisters of Mercy in Australia and is nationally recognised for her work as a hospital administrator at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Brisbane and for her early advocacy for the support and care of Queenslanders with HIV/AIDS.

Sr Angela is the recipient of numerous awards and honours including: Queenslander of the Year 1989, Australian Achiever in 1990, Order of Australia for services to hospital administration, community health and teaching health care services in 1993, the inaugural Queensland Greats award in 2001 and the Centenary Medal for distinguished service to the community and the health industry in 2001.

In 2009, she was inducted into the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame and in In 2010, Sister Angela Mary published her autobiography, Mercy, Mater & Me.