Women's Mental Health

Women's Mental Health

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Mental illness has many gender-specific and age-specific characteristics that clinical practice has historically overlooked. The Online Short Course in Women’s Mental Health aims to upskill clinicians to work sensitively and effectively with women of all ages experiencing mental ill-health, and to integrate an understanding of factors such as the role of trauma and endocrinology in the development of mental illness, as well as implications for treatments.

As a key point of contact for women of all ages who suffer from complex mental health conditions, health clinicians play a critical role in early identification, risk assessment and timely intervention. This course aims to cultivate a ‘new thinking’ approach to equip clinicians with the skills to enhance the health, mental health and wellbeing of women across the lifespan.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand how symptoms of complex mental health conditions, including borderline personality disorder (complex trauma disorder), depression, anxiety and psychosis, vary across the female lifespan.
  • Identify risk factors for, and key symptoms of, complex mental health conditions relevant to women at different life stages (e.g. eating disorders, self-harm behaviour in young women).
  • Recognise the significant impact of past and current abuse, violence and trauma on female mental ill-health and outcomes.
  • Learn about several new treatment approaches, tailored for women at different life stages.
  • Learn about biological, psychological and social treatment approaches for crisis, early management and recovery phases of complex mental illnesses suffered by women across the lifespan.
  • Learn about special health issues and how they impact on women’s mental health, including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), use of the oral contraceptive pill (OCP), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), sexuality, pregnancy and the postnatal period, perimenopause and menopause, and dementia.
  • Use tools provided in this course, such as our clinician toolkit, 'When She Talks to You about the Violence' for use when identifying and responding to family violence.
  • Enhance practical clinical skills such as diagnostic techniques and interview skills, using algorithms and checklists provided.
  • Enhance your ability to work sensitively and effectively with female patients of all ages.

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Professor Jayashri Kulkarni

Professor of Women's Mental Health Team, the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre

Professor Jayashri Kulkarni is a Professor of Psychiatry and the Director of the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc), Melbourne Australia. She is internationally recognised for her expertise in Women’s mental health and the treatment of mental illness,and is a passionate advocate  of  patient-focused  mental health research.

Professor Kulkarni graduated from Monash Medical School, Melbourne Australia in 1981, and became a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists in 1989. She was awarded a PhD from Monash University in 1997 for her thesis “Women and Psychosis”. After working as  a  postdoctoral  schizophrenia research fellow at the Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria and the Early Psychosis Centre, Melbourne Australia, Professor Kulkarni worked as the Director of Dandenong Psychiatry from 1994 to 2002.

In 2002, Professor Kulkarni was appointed the Professor of Psychiatry at the Alfred Hospital and she founded the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc). The aim of the research centre, encapsulated in its catchphrase “We Mend Minds”, is to develop new treatments, new understanding  and  new  service  deliveries  for  people with mental illness.

Professor Kulkarni is internationally and nationally renowned for the promotion of research in women’s mental health. In particular, she has pioneered the use of estrogen as a new treatment in schizophrenia and is internationally recognised for this significant innovative  achievement.  She  has  studied  many  new  treatments including tamoxifen treatment for bipolar disorder, tibolone treatment for depression, raloxifene treatment for schizophrenia, and memantine for borderline personality disorder. Professor Kulkarni’s research efforts over the  last 20 years  have contributed  to  an  improved  understanding  of women’s mental health and illness, which has served to inform and improve clinical practice.


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