NSW’s first mother and baby unit for severe mental illness


Genevieve Whitlam had no history of mental illness until one week after her son, Arlo, was born, when she plunged into a devastating postnatal psychosis.

The psychosis, caused from a “raging infection and lack of sleep”, left Ms Whitlam needing many weeks of hospitalisation, initially in the public system and then on a private ward.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and new mum Genevieve Whitlam and six-month-old son Arlo.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and new mum Genevieve Whitlam and six-month-old son Arlo.Credit:Peter Rae

It wasn’t until she was in the private mothers and babies ward that she was finally able to bond with her newborn, who is now six months old.

But, in a NSW first, a public mother and baby unit will be built at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown for new mums and expected mums from across the state.