Hannah completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at Monash University in 2003, and obtained her Professional Doctorate of Psychology (Counselling) from Swinburne University in 2011. Following graduation from her doctorate, Hannah began working in private practice in South Yarra, specialising in the treatment of postnatal depression, while also continuing a successful research career in the area of maternal mental health. Throughout Hannah’s career she has been dedicated to improving the well-being of women – beginning with work at a women’s telephone counselling service, followed by over 15 years working on The Maternal Health Study research project, plus work in hospital antenatal clinics, assisting pregnant women with their emotional preparation for birth and motherhood.
In 2013, Hannah relocated to the Mornington Peninsula where she now works in private practice with perinatal women. Here, Hannah sees women who are experiencing depression, anxiety, stress, adjustment difficulties, relationship difficulties, reproductive loss, pregnancy decision making, issues around termination, and parenting. She is proudly associated with both the Australian Association of Psychologists, and the Mornington Peninsula Obstetrics team at The Bays Hospital, Mornington.
Hannah has achieved great success in her research career which spans close to 20 years. She has published over 20 peer-reviewed journal articles on maternal mental and physical health, presented her research findings at national and international conferences, and run invited training sessions in the areas of mindfulness, maternal mental health, and relationship conflict and domestic violence. Most recently, Hannah has been a Senior Research Officer with the Maternal Health Study at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, exploring women’s mental and physical health in the first 10 years after childbirth. One of Hannah’s most influential papers (published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology) demonstrated that maternal depression is more common at four years postpartum than at any time in the first postnatal year. This paper generated worldwide media attention, and the implications of this finding are informing policy developments in perinatal services in Australia and the UK.
Hannah’s doctoral thesis explored the effectiveness of a group mindfulness program for women with binge eating problems. Building on this work, Hannah led a pilot study to evaluate a mindfulness-based group program for pregnant women at the Royal Women’s Hospital. For this study, she co-wrote the MindBabyBody program, an intervention specifically designed to reduce anxiety and depression in pregnancy and the postnatal period.
Hannah is passionate about communicating the findings of her research with the general public, and advocating for the importance of mother’s mental health. Her work is regularly profiled in the media, including articles in The Guardian, The Washington Post, and The Age, and regular radio interviews (including an invited interview with the BBC). She has written for The Conversation (New mothers making time for themselves reduces chance of postnatal depression) and was selected to appear in the Brilliant Minds campaign, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.
Registered with the Psychology Board of Australia (PBA)
Member of the Australian Association of Psychologists Inc (MAAPI)
Honorary Research Fellow with Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Registered Circle of Security parent educator, assisting parents in building secure relationships with their babies and toddlers.
Hannah has produced over 20 peer-reviewed journal publications in the area of maternal mental and physical health, including in top-ranking international journals in this field.
Hannah Woolhouse, Rhonda Small, Kirsty Miller, Stephanie Brown. Frequency of “Time for Self” Is a Significant Predictor of Postnatal Depressive Symptoms: Results from a Prospective Pregnancy Cohort Study. Birth, 2016; 43:1, 58–67.
Hannah Woolhouse, Kristine Mercuri, Fiona Judd, Stephanie Brown. Antenatal mindfulness intervention to reduce depression, anxiety and stress: A pilot randomised controlled trial. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, 2014;14:369.
Hannah Woolhouse, Deirdre Gartland, Fiona Mensah, Stephanie Brown. Maternal depression from early pregnancy to four years postpartum in a prospective pregnancy cohort study. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 2015;122:312-21
Hannah Woolhouse, Deirdre Gartland, Kelsey Hegarty, Susan Donath, Stephanie Brown. Depressive symptoms and intimate partner violence in the 12 months after childbirth. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 2012;119 (3); 315-323.