Vital Health & Wellbeing Centre For all your health care needs Mon, 08 Apr 2019 01:36:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Choosing your Health Professional Fri, 08 Sep 2017 21:14:09 +0000 Choosing a health professional may sound like a simple task, and most of us don’t put too much thought into who we see, as long as we can pop into our local medical centre and access a doctor. Long gone are the days when your local GP was your family GP, often seeing all family members and even a couple of generations in one family. That level of personal connection and continuity of care may seem like a blast from the past, however, person centred care can be achieved in the fast paced, multi-layered, bulk approach to health care that we have today. And the key to that connection is you, and how you approach choosing your health professional, sharing your information and journey, and building your relationship with the professional whose job description is to provide health care to you!

The first step is to choose the health professional who is right for you. Here are some tips:

1. Word of mouth – talk to family, friends, colleagues. The power of mutual experience and first hand feedback is irreplaceable.

2. Google, Google, Google – we have technology and our fingertips, there is no excuse for not doing your research.

3. Check website – it is clear, up to date, what feeling does it evoke in you, do you feel engaged, do the values espoused align with yours.

4. Check qualifications – research through relevant associations eg Australian Medical Association (AMA), Australian Psychological Society (APS), Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) etc.

5. Reviews can be your friend or foe – read reviews but use your own judgement. Reviews are a great way to get a feel about what others have experienced but they are often steeped in emotion, both positive and negative. The positive reviews are powerful. Think about when you have written reviews. You are feeling great due to a wonderful experience or are angry because something has not gone your way. The true experience is likely somewhere in between. Also, some associations have very strict guidelines in relation to testimonials eg. APS

6. Social media is usually a give away and ‘no brainer’. Do you really want to consult a health guru? Are posts based on fact, evidence, research, or memes? Are you inspired by someone who self professes they are inspirational, with a filtered and photoshopped selfie to match? Handle with care!

7. Publications – has the health professional published research and if so, is this in an evidence based, reputable publication? Be wary of DYI self-publications. Read the reference page and ascertain if research backs up the publication.

8. Self reflection – what are you looking for, what are your priorities, what do you want to achieve in terms of health goals.

9. First impressions – the client experience, from walking in to the clinic to the interactions with the receptionist and health professional. Were they really listening? Did they reflect back what you shared with them? Did they give you their undivided attention.

10. Patience is a virtue and a curse. If it’s not working…move on! If you are not satisfied with the service you are receiving, don’t wait for the next visit to see if things will improve, or just keep going because it is convenient and too daunting to think about starting over with someone new. Move on and find the right health professional for you! You would not keep a faulty toaster, why persevere with bad service?

Most importantly, remember that you are the most important person in the equation and you deserve the best. Choosing a health professional is about choosing the skilled, experience, communication style, and effectively, the client/practitioner relationship that will work for you!

More helpful articles to come! Stay tuned to our ‘Latest News’.



Building your Business Capacity – Affordable Private Practice Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:21:52 +0000
Are you a health professional looking for a space to deliver your services? Are you interested in co-locating within a reputable business where you can network with a multi-disciplinary team of health & wellbeing professionals? Is affordability and sustainability important for you? If you have answered yes to these questions Vital Health has opportunities for you.
With branches in Sutherland and Carlton we are now well established as leading allied health & complementary service Centre’s in South East Sydney. With our expansion across the region has come more opportunities and space for private practitioners. We have consultation rooms available at both sites for casual, episodic or regular room hire at affordable, competitive rates. If you are needing reception, billing and appointment book management we also offer services room hire whereby these essential support services are provided at reasonable rates.
Whether you are looking at re-locating your business or new to private practice and wanting to build your new business without locking into leasing agreements with significant outlay, Vital Health can support you. We also offer business coaching and careers counselling. Gain insights into small business with true to life examples, tips and insights to support you with your business planning. No frills, no jargon, we offer honest, practicle advise to give you a head start. 
For further information and a fee schedule email or call 9545 6939.
How a public happy face can hide serious symptoms of Depression Wed, 12 Oct 2016 20:41:36 +0000 img_5033Do you or somoene you love and care for experience symptoms of depression? Do you put on your public happy face in the morning and hide your deeper feelings of sadness or despair?

With suicide rates at a 10 year high and  a reported 25% increase in suicide between 2011 and 2015 (Australian Bureau of Statistics Catalogue 3303.0 Cause of Death in Australia 2015) we thought it important that we talk about depression and the supports available to people experiencing symptoms of depression.


At some stage in our lives we all experience low mood, feeling down or blue. This can be a reaction to stressors or significant changes in our lives, such as loosing a job, changing schools, following the breakdown of a relationship, following retirement or even losing a family pet. And we often say during these times that we feel depressed. Depression however, becomes an illness when this mood is severe, is persistent for 2 weeks or more and interferes with our activities of daily living or our ability to function at work or at home.
Some of the signs or symptoms of depression include:
~ Low self esteem or low self-worth
~ Change in sleeping patterns: sleeping too much or too little (insomnia)
~ Changes in appetite and weight loss or weight gain
~ Less ability to control emotions, feeling pessimistic, angry, irritable or anxious
~ Reduced capacity to experience pleasure eg things that have meaning in the past are no longer of interest
~ Changed sex drive: absent or reduced
~ Poor concentration and memory
~ Reduced motivation
~ Lowered energy levels
If you have such feelings that persist for more than 2 weeks and affect your ability to function you may benefit from an assessment conducted by a skilled professional. Having one or two symptoms does not necessarily mean you have depression, however, there could be other causes that a medical assessment may identify. Speak to your GP about your experience. Your GP will develop a care plan to meet your individual needs and may refer you to a psychologist for support. Vital Health offers psychological services that can support people experiencing depression. To make an appointment with our psychologists call 9545 6939.

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) can provide information on Psychological services and Psychologists available in your area. PHN’s have been established and funded by the Department of Health with the key objectives of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes, and improving coordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time. They can also assist with access to free Psychological services under the Access to Allied Health Psychological Services (ATAPS)


Locally, the Central & Eastern Sydney PHN offer an online directory of health professionals in the region ( and ATAPS.

There are also many free or subsidised services that can assist with information or direct support.
Beyond Blue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live. 

The Black Dog Institute is a not-for-profit organisation and world leader in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder.

The SANE Help Centre provides the information, guidance, and referral you need to manage mental health concerns.

SANE Helpline 1800 18 7263

Talk to a mental health professional (weekdays, 9am-5pm AEST)

Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

13 11 14 is a confidential telephone crisis support service available 24/7 from a landline, payphone or mobile.
Please re-visit this blog page for an upcoming article on Mental Health First Aid and how you can engage with somoene who is potentially and risk and feel comfortable with the question – are you ok?
Health and the Workplace Wed, 06 Jul 2016 02:15:48 +0000 Is your j6B2DAEAF-1DEF-48E4-8D44-8968BAB8AC10ob making you sick?

Most of us nowadays think about our health and wellbeing and try and make time to exercise, eat healthily, and socialise. But these are all after hours activities. Many of us spend more time at work rather than play, but may not be taking stock of how our workplace is making us feel.

Workplaces can be toxic environments that impact on workers health and wellbeing, including mental health. Chronic high stress, low morale, lack of work life balance, physical and psychological illness, depression, burnout, poor communication, dysfunctional leadership, dysfunctional relationships, bullying, harassment, are all signs of a toxic workplace. Toxicity significantly increases when the culture or an organisation or workplace is implicitly accepting of dysfunction, and in some cases, perpetuates dysfunctional behaviours by failing to address them.

What to do?

You may decide to be an influencer of change and role model positive workplace behaviour and work life balance and even implement strategies in your workplace. The Australia Government has developed a Healthy Workplace initiative to provide you with the tools to initiate change and develop workplace programs. For more information visit:…/publishing.…/Content/home

You may practice positive psychology and try to develop skills and techniques to better deal with the workplace environment and build your resilience. Talking to your workplace EAP provider or clinical supervisor can help. Or, you may decide to see a private counsellor or psychologist.

Or it may be time to time to GO! You may have stayed in a job hoping that things will change, working as an individual to make change, only to find yourself, over time, feeling burnt out, having low morale, low self esteem, experiencing depression, and finding it difficult to face each day at work.

Give yourself permission to walk!

You are more than your job and your health & wellbeing is far more important. And be mindful, you are not a failure if you walk away, it is your workplace that has failed you! Closing the door to dysfunction can lead to new doors opening and new opportunities.

Below are some useful links on this topic. If you require psychological support see your GP for a mental health care plan, referral to a psychologist, and access to Medicare subsidies. To make an appointment with a psychologist at Vital Health call 9545 6939

For crisis support call LIFELINE 13 11 14

Further reading:
Dr Peter Cotton FAPS, Positive Psychology in the Workplace…/…/2011/april/cotton/

Sarah Ford, Workplace Stress, Environmental & Individual Factors, Australian Psychological Society

Heads Up, Creating a Mentally Healthy Workplace…

Mental Health First Aid International, workplace prevention of mental health problems, Guidelines for Organisations…/GUIDELINES-for-workplace-prevention-o…

Opportunities for Health Professionals Thu, 25 Feb 2016 22:29:44 +0000 12647029_1035614749795309_6547368072352289093_nIt’s that time of year again. Vital Health is recruiting!
Vital Health is a leader in providing opportunities, coaching and mentoring to young health professionals in the Southern Sydney, and supporting them to grow their private practice and achieve their career goals. We recruit twice yearly in February and August. This year we are looking for a Dietitian, Speech Pathologist and Remedial Massage Therapist. If you are interested in working at a vibrant and growing health and wellbeing centre and joining a multi-disciplinary team of highly qualified and experienced health professionals, with lots of potential for cross-referral, express your interest by emailing your CV to
Established practitioners from the above mentioned and other modalities interested in moving their practice to Vital Health are also welcome to apply.
Interviews will be conducted in March so APPLY TODAY!

A Carers Journey Mon, 21 Sep 2015 05:34:54 +0000 shutterstock_269593829Are you in a caring role?

Do you provide informal care and support for a family member or friend who is frail aged, has a disability, mental illness, chronic or terminal illness? Did you know more than one ten members of the NSW community are carers? (

The caring experience can be both challenging and rewarding and it is important that the needs of both the carer and the person being cared for are identified and met.

Carers NSW, the peak body advocating and supporting carers in NSW, has developed a great interactive resource aimed at, firstly, identifying the experiences of carers, and providing information, support and resources that can benefit both the carer and the person they care for. The ‘Carer Life Course’ is adapted from the ‘Carer Life Course: An Evidence-Based Approach to Effective Carer Education and Support’ by Dr Deanna Pagnini, NSW Health.

A carers journey starts in:
– phase 1, where the carer knows something is wrong but not sure what this involves;
– phase 2, where the person cared for has been diagnosed;
– phase 3 where the shock of the diagnosis wears off and life revolves around adjusting to and re-adjusting life to meet the needs of caring;
– phase 4, the managing phase where the carer has learnt how to incorporate the caring role into their everyday life;
– phase 5, purposeful coping, where the issues are the same, however, the carer has more knowledge and skills and is now proactive and purposeful; and for some carers…
– phase 6, where they are no longer in the caring role, for a variety of reasons, which can include the person being cared for no longer requiring care, the person cared for moving into residential care, or the passing of the person being cared for.

Follow the link to access the interactive tool and find out more.

Carers NSW offers counselling for carers. Call the Carer Line on 1800 242636

The Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres can offer information, emergency respite and a variety of other direct services. Call 1800 052222

Vital Health offers private Psychological Services, Paediatrics, Dietetics (Medicare rebates available), and a suite of services to help with stress management and self care (Yoga, Meditation, Remedial Massage). Call 9545 6939 to make an appointment.

Join the Vital Health Team Tue, 14 Jul 2015 07:04:15 +0000 shutterstock_184805387Vital Health is growing and as a result we have opportunities for new and experienced health professionals to join our multi-disciplinary team. We would also like to offer our clientele a broad range of services to support them to achieve optimum health and wellbeing, in line with our holistic vision.

We are currently seeking  a Remedial Massage Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Speech Pathologist, Physiotherapist and General Practitioners. We will also consider other disciplines that complement our current services.

If you are a health professional interested in establishing, growing or consolidating your business; sub-contracting or room hire arrangements; flexible work hours; potential for cross referrals; and working with a team of highly motivated and experience practitioners, this opportunity is for you!

Please forward your expression of interest and CV via our ‘Contact’ page. All applications will be treated with strict confidentiality.


Stress and its Causes – Tips to manage the stress in your life. Thu, 11 Jun 2015 02:21:47 +0000 stressInSandDo you feel stressed? Do you want to learn more about the symptoms of stress and tips to help you manage stress? Please read on, article also available on our website

Stress is experienced by all people of all ages, from children sitting exams at school, adults dealing with issues in their personal life or workplace, through to older people perhaps contemplating retirement or living with illness or infirmity. Stress is often described as a feeling of being overloaded, wound-up tight, tense and worried. Day to day activities can give rise to stress, and while a little stress is good — it keeps us focused and motivated — too much of it and it can have a significant impact on our daily life. When you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed you may become frozen and unable to deal with events or situations.
Stress happens when we feel that we can’t cope with pressure and this pressure comes in many shapes and forms, and triggers physiological responses. The ‘fight or flight’ response is a built in or hard-wired reaction to perceived threats to our survival. At times of danger, the body’s innate intelligence automatically takes charge by triggering a set of changes that bypass our rational thoughts. Priority is given to all physical functions which provide more power to face an enemy or to flee. To understand why stress can have negative impacts on your health, you must first understand the physiological changes that occur within your body during the fight or flight response. It is also important to take into consideration your thought processes, or psychological response to stress. The fight or flight response is also evident in those experiencing anxiety or panic disorders, and can be much more severe and debilitating for some people.

Fight or flight
The fight or flight response was first noted by one of the early pioneers in stress research, Walter Cannon. In 1932 he established that when an organism experiences a shock or perceives a threat, it quickly releases hormones that help it to survive. In humans, as in other animals, these hormones help us to run faster and fight harder. They increase heart rate and blood pressure – delivering more oxygen and blood sugar to power important muscles. They increase sweating in an effort to cool these muscles, and help them stay efficient. Breathing is accelerated to supply more oxygen for conversion to energy. The heart moves into overdrive to supply the body with more oxygen and nutrients. Attention and sight become acute and highly focused. This physiological aspect leaves us fully prepared to fight or run. Our sympathetic nervous system has been aroused, adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine (3 stress hormones) have been released in our body, and we have an acute stress response. The inherent fight or flight response can be triggered by seemingly less life threatening events. Many day-to-day situations can set it off – a change of home, a difficult boss, divorce, separation, demanding children, traffic jams, the fear of terrorism etc.

Symptoms of Stress
While the physical changes help us try to meet the challenges of the stressful situation, they can cause other physical or psychological symptoms if the stress is ongoing and the physical changes don’t settle down. These symptoms can include: • Headaches, other aches and pains • Sleep disturbance, insomnia • Upset stomach, indigestion, diarrhoea • Anxiety • Anger, irritability • Depression • Fatigue • Feeling overwhelmed and out of control • Feeling moody, tearful • Difficulty concentrating • Low self-esteem, lack of confidence • High blood pressure • Weakened immune system • Heart disease (Australian Psychological Society)
Coping with stress Today many of us don’t take enough physical exercise to ‘burn off’ the effects of our response and we’re left with stress build up. We learn to control our reactions, but this does not counteract the stress response. Furthermore, some adopt unhealthy coping methods to deal with stress, turning to over-eating, alcohol or drugs. Stress management is key to developing positive coping mechanisms and reducing your stress levels.
Here are some tips:
1. Learn to identify your early warning signs and triggers. This is very much about taking stock of your past experiences with stress and working out what affects you! Learn from your past experiences, note how you reacted physiologically and psychologically, and increasing your awareness when similar patterns arise again. Also learn from coping strategies that you have used in the past that may or may not have worked for you.
2. Keep your body healthy. Eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, eliminate or minimise caffeine and alcohol consumption, partake in regular exercise. Adopt exercise as a coping mechanism to manage stress. Remember, exercise can help to calm your sympathetic nervous system that has been activated by stressors.
3. Practice relaxation. Mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, listening to music, gardening, or any other activity that you enjoy and brings you calmness. During stressful periods in your life, when you mind and body is racing and pacing at what seems a hundred miles an hour, relaxation techniques will help slow the pace and allow your body mind and body to take some time out.
4. Keep your creativity alive. Many people focus on the intellectual/structured side of their personality, with careers, raising children, paying off mortgages, all requiring a level of discipline and structure. Although structure and routine is important when managing stress, it is sometimes not conducive to relaxation and a fulfilment of the creative side of our personalities. Finding balance is important. Think about your creativity and perhaps hobbies or activities that will satisfy this component of your personality. Art, painting, cooking, flower arranging, building model planes or ships, for example, will give you an outlet for your creativity, and an opportunity for relaxation.
5. Stay connected. Spend time with people you care about and who care about you. Social connectedness is essential for wellbeing. Enjoying the company of family and friends, and sharing your thoughts and feelings and talking about your stress is a positive coping mechanism. Oftentimes, people who are feeling stressed will keep things to themselves, for fear of being exposed as not coping, and subsequently experience isolation. Positive relationships will give you positive results. Do not turn away from them!
6. Take note of your ‘self-talk’. These are the thoughts in your head that can be positive or negative thoughts. Often when we are stressed we tell ourselves we cannot cope, we are tired, we have no time, or similar statements that compact our feelings of being overwhelmed. Take note of these thoughts and turn them on their head, for example, ‘I’m coping well considering everything I have on my plate’, ‘I will keep breathing and stay calm’. Our ability to cope with our stressors is not only dependent on our physiological responses but also our psychological responses.
7. Find your balance, A balanced life will build your resilience and hence your ability to cope with stress. There is a great deal of talk about work/life balance, and most of us are aware that we need balance in our lives, however, today’s fast moving world, and sometimes economic considerations, makes it challenging to find the right medium. Stephen Covey (1989) identifies four dimensions of wellbeing: the physical, spiritual, mental and social/emotional. To achieve optimum wellbeing you to all areas that give meaning to your life.
8. Learn to say no. Stress can often be a result of taking on too much, whether it be in your professional life, personal life, caring responsibilities or other responsibilities. We often take on too much because of feelings of obligation, duty, and sometimes guilt, and not being able to say ‘no’. Knowing your limits and what you are or are not capable of taking on at any given time is important. Saying no is also about setting boundaries. We cannot be all things to all people. Set your priorities, set your boundaries!
9. Seek advice from a professional. It is important to recognise when it is time to seek help from a counsellor or psychologist. If your stress levels have been high for a prolonged period of time and affecting your health and enjoyment of life, seek help. Seeing a professional will give you an opportunity to talk about your feelings and they will also support you to develop identify your stressors and develop positive coping mechanisms and a stress management plan.

If you would like to make an appointment to see one of Vital Health’s psychologists, Val Townsend, Susan Bourne or Rhia Forsyth, call 9545 6939. You may be eligible for Medicare rebated. See your GP for a referral and Mental Health Care Plan,

The Australian Psychological Society has a great fact sheet on stress. Visit:

If you require urgent crisis support call Lifeline: 131114

Kids Yoga New at Vital Health! Wed, 27 May 2015 01:55:25 +0000 10407943_913437012013084_1584763896653863544_nDo you worry that your child is spending too much time on the computer or watching TV? Would you like to see them be more physically active and connected with other children? Are you looking for a fun fitness activity for your child?

Kids Yoga is about teaching teens and kids yoga in an enjoyable and non-competitive way. Kids learn about body strength and flexibility as well as compassion, peace and friendship at an early age.

Not only is children’s yoga FUN, INTERACTIVE, and CREATIVE, it also:

– Promotes positive thinking and self-confidence

– Keeps kids healthy, strong, and happy.

– Increases concentration and focus.

– Gives children the tools to relax and stay calm. (Cat Quilla, Vital Health Yoga Facilitator)

Enrol your child in KIDS YOGA coming soon to Vital Health!
We are currently taking expresssions of interest for classes starting in June. Our Thursday after school class will accomodate 7 to 11 year olds. Class sizes will be small offering individualised attention, with all equipment supplied. Call 9545 6939 today to reserve a spot for your child!

Talking About Death & Dying Wed, 27 May 2015 01:42:49 +0000

photo 4National Palliative Care Week runs from Sunday 24th – Saturday 30th May 2015. This year’s theme is: ‘Dying to talk; talking about dying won’t kill you’.

People generally do not like to talk about death and dying. The topic can make people uncomfortable, sad, scared, and can be confronting as it makes us think about our own mortality. But death is part of life and affects everyone. To have the best death possible we need to plan and prepare for it. We also need to allow those we love and care for, who are experiencing end of life or terminal illness, to have a voice and be able to express their feelings and thoughts, and, most importantly, let us know how we can best support their wishes. Off course, cultural norms and values must be respected, and the cues must come from the terminally ill person as to whether these conversations are appropriate for them.

During National Palliative Care Week, Palliative Care Australia (PCA) is encouraging Australians to break the last taboo and talk about dying – it won’t kill you.

PCA wants to normalise death and dying. To do this Australians need to feel more comfortable talking about what their wishes and needs are as they approach end of life. Australians need to be comfortable and confident to ask for the care they want. For more information and to find our about event to be held this week visit…/NationalPalliativeCareWe…
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is defined by the World Health Organisation as: an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. Palliative care:

provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms;
affirms life and regards dying as a normal process;
intends neither to hasten or postpone death;
integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
offers a support system to help the family cope during the patients illness and in their own bereavement;
uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counselling, if indicated;
will enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness;
is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications.(
Vital Health Psychologists provide psychological support to people experiencing chronic and terminal illness and grief and bereavement counselling. Call 9545 6939 to make an appointment.

National Palliative Care Week
Palliative Care Australia’s short video to promote National Palliative Care Week. Thanks to Crux Media: