MOTHERS and their tiny tots marched down Queanbeyan's main street on Monday to raise awareness about perinatal depression and anxiety.
The fifth postnatal walk was held on Monday, November 19 and aimed to focus on making public the symptoms and treatments available for postnatal depression.
Perinatal and infant mental health clinical leader Alison Cook said it was often families rather than the mothers who first diagnose postnatal depression.
"There's a stigma, women feel they've failed but that's not the case it's ok to ask for help," she said.
"Postnatal depression is really common, 15 per cent of the population will have post natal depression and 10 pc before they give birth. Often mothers don't even ask or access help, it's very treatable and left in the long term, it's not good."
Some of the signs of postnatal depression include crying, being irritable, mothers not enjoying activities they used to, increased anxiety and thoughts of not wanting to be around anymore.
"Often people think these things are common when having a baby but having all these symptoms combined, that's not normal," Ms Cook said.
"Mothers should talk to their GP or their child and family healthcare nurse and ask for help."
Ms Cook said treatment included being aware of postnatal depression, asking for help and support from the family with things like cleaning and looking after children, talking therapies and in severe cases medication.
The Walk and Talk Group based in Jerrabomberra is one community organisation helping mothers and has been doing so for the past 14 years.
"It's a group for exercise it's really effective and open to everyone, it's great prevention for post-natal depression," Ms Cook said.
The group meets every Monday for a weekly stroll around the lake with a fitness instructor and child and family health nurse present.It is supported by the Greater Southern Area Health Service, the Surgery at Jerra and Jerrabomberra Rotary.Queanbeyan mum Christine Huber and her 17-month-old son Alex participated in Monday's walk and are also members of the Walk and Talk Group.
"I walk everyday anyway but it's great to get out of the house and meet other mothers, it's a different group of women with children of different ages," she said.
"The exercise is great, the knowledge and information too. Meeting other people eases the isolation of being at home especially when the kids are really little."
*The Walk and Talk Group meet weekly on Mondays at 10am at the Jerrabomberra Community Centre on Jerrabomberra Parkway. For more information phone Queanbeyan Community Health on 6298 9233.