Lisa Thurin Women’s Health Centre supporting vulnerable women

In September 2023 the Lisa Thurin Women’s Health Centre (LTWHC) at Cabrini Hospital Elsternwick reached its second anniversary of operations and mental health service delivery to female patients. At the time of opening, this was Australia’s first-ever women-only private mental health facility.  The contemporary in-patient unit comprises 30 beds and prioritises creating a safe, nurturing environment where women can receive the support they need to address their mental health challenges.

To mark the occasion, in early October the Gandel Foundation Director Lisa Thurin paid a visit to the Centre and had an opportunity to hear about the successes and challenges over the past 24 months.

Lisa met with the Chief of Mental Health at Cabrini Sharon Sherwood, Medical Director of LTWHC and psychiatrist Ingrid Butterworth, and Nurse Manager Jess Duda to hear about the journey of the Centre to date.

Over the last two years, the Centre has welcomed an average of 28 clients each month, providing treatment to more than 500 women during this period.

The Centre offers comprehensive care for women dealing with a spectrum of issues, encompassing anxiety, depression, burnout, addiction, and it is at the forefront of treatment for complex trauma conditions such as PTSD and Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).

PMDD has long been overlooked, leaving countless women to suffer in silence. This debilitating condition impacts approximately 10 -15% of reproductive-aged women, causing severe depression, high morbidity, and mortality. Symptoms significantly disrupt daily life and can lead to suicidal thoughts.

LTWHC takes immense pride in being the sole provider in Australia offering hormonal therapy for PMDD, and the outcomes they’ve witnessed in just a few years have been genuinely life-altering.

As part of the Centre’s comprehensive treatment offerings, their team of clinicians are available to deliver a minimum of 6 hours of evidence-based group therapy daily.

The Centre’s clients include accomplished professional women who often bear the heavy responsibility of balancing careers, managing households, and caring for children and elderly parents. For a number of the clients, addictions are symptomatic of underlying problems such as trauma, hormonal imbalances, or mood disorders.

LTWHC continues to provide vital mental health services to dozens of vulnerable women from around Australia and even from overseas, often facing complex needs and requiring multiple types of support.

The Centre’s newly introduced programs and initiatives include:

  • Hormone treatments for Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
  • A parenting course
  • Music and Art Therapy, now integrated into both the in-patient and out-patient/community programs.