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A $1 million donation has been gifted to Mater by philanthropists Maha Sinnathamby and Bob Sharpless and their wives to mark the 95th birthday of Mater’s first hospital administrator and close friend, Sister Angela Mary. The gift will go towards establishing the Mater Family Wellbeing Service to support Queensland families experiencing mental health challenges in the period immediately before and after birth.
In Australia 16-20 per cent of women experience clinically significant mental health issues in the perinatal period and currently Queensland has limited services to care for mothers, babies and their families experiencing these issues.
Springfield City Group (SCG) Chairman Maha Sinnathamby and Deputy Chairman Bob Sharpless together with their wives Yoga and Belinda, announced the donation whilst attending a tour of the Mater convent, hosted by Sr Angela Mary today. The Mater convent, where Sr Angela Mary lived for many years, will undergo significant renovations to become the new home of the Mater Family Wellbeing Centre.
“I wish to congratulate Mater on caring for Queenslanders for more than a century with so much love and care,” Maha said.
“Sister Angela Mary is our very dear friend and when she told us about this project that means so much to her, we could understand the absolute need for such a facility.
“It is our pleasure to be able to provide this gift to Mater to mark Sister Angela Mary’s 95th birthday and help families get the best possible start in life.”
Sister Angela Mary said that the project was one that held a special place in her heart.
“To see the convent, repurposed into a place where families can receive the care and support they need, is the most fitting use of this space,” Sister Angela Mary said.
“It speaks to the work of Catherine McAuley, who started the Sisters of Mercy in Dublin in 1831, who looked after mothers who were in trouble; that was her mission.
“The gift from the Sinnathamby and Sharpless families is an incredible contribution that helps us move closer to making this facility a reality.”
Mater Foundation has already raised $12 million, thanks to the generous support of donors, but needs to raise a further $6 million to deliver the first-of-its-kind centre in Australia.
Mater Mental Health and Young Adult Health Senior Manager Greg McGahan said that the aim of the centre was to fill a gap in services for families experiencing mental health issues.
“Our aim is to deliver an integrated model of inpatient and outpatient programs targeting the antenatal, postnatal and early attachment periods for mothers, babies and families,” Greg said.
“Research has shown that intensive specialist family-based interventions to address mental health disorders and relationship disturbances in the early years improve outcomes on a wide range of indices in childhood, adolescence and adulthood.”
“The centre will provide a spectrum of care that promotes wellness, parental mental health, healthy relationships, and child development.
The new facility will be created by refurbishing the existing Mater convent building and adding an extension housing a Mother and Baby Unit, a Family Admission Unit and Perinatal Parenting Support Services.
To make a donation towards the Mater Family Wellbeing Service, please contact Mater Foundation on 07 3163 8000 or visit the website: https://fundraise.mater.org.au/donate