National midwives helpline ‘fantastic’ says Armadale nurse

A midwife from Armadale Hospital says the new, 24-hour lifeline for nurses and midwives is a 'fantastic initiative'.
A midwife from Armadale Hospital says the new, 24-hour lifeline for nurses and midwives is a 'fantastic initiative'.

AN Armadale Hospital midwife has welcomed a dedicated national telephone and online service that provides free 24/7 health and wellbeing advice.

Every day, nurses and midwives support the community through trauma and tragedy, but often don’t know where to turn to for help themselves.

Nurse & Midwife Support (NM Support) is the first dedicated service that provides support to the more than 38,000 nurses and midwives across WA.

Clinical midwife Alisha Thompson said the new service was a fantastic initiative.

“I’m really pleased they’ve brought it out,” she said. “The joy of midwifery is certainly understood in the community, but for some women their experience of becoming a mother is touched with tragedy.

“When you support a woman and go through that with her, you take some of it home with you. This line gives us an outlet to explore our own feelings.”

Ms Thompson has been working as a midwife for 10 years and said she loved being with women every day as their lives changed and they become mothers, with the relationship developed between a midwife and patient an extremely powerful one.

“The big issues affecting midwives are those of grief and loss,” Ms Thompson said.

“I think ultimately at heart, caring is central to our profession.

“When you care as a job, you’re very empathetic and you can take other people’s grief and trauma on board.

“It’s not uncommon to cry with a woman when she loses her baby; you don’t switch off being a woman yourself.”

The confidentiality of the NM Support service is vital to the medical staff it targets.

“One of the ethical beliefs of midwives is we maintain the confidentiality of women; you can’t go home and discuss it with your partner or friends,” Ms Thompson said.

“It’s very important (for nurses and midwives) to have this available to them.

“We know how unhealthy it is to ignore our feelings or suppress our emotions, which may seem the only option to people without this outlet.”

NM Support is run by Turning Point, a leading addiction treatment, research and education organisation.

The service was established following a research project on health issues for nurses and midwives, with many workers saying they were unaware of available mental health and wellbeing support services.

NM Support is now available across Australia and is open to nurses, midwives, students, employers, educators, and concerned friends or relatives. Call 1800 667 877 or visit www.nmsupport.org.au.