Since the start of 2020, we have all faced additional challenges and stressors because of COVID-19, and that means it’s more important than ever to look after our health and wellbeing. 

Don't delay your health. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there is increasing concern that people with signs of cancer and other health conditions may not be contacting their GPS to discuss new symptoms. Other medical issues don't stop because of COVID-19, don't delay medical appointments as symptoms being investigated promptly might just save your life.

Use the resources below to check in on your health and take some positive steps that might just change your life.

Women's Health Week - Introduction

Professor Rosemary Aldrich
Medical Director Grampians Public Health Unit (GPHU)
Grampians Health Ballarat

Rosemary came to Ballarat more than three years ago to be BHS Chief Medical Officer. Rosemary first studied and worked as a journalist and in health promotion before switching careers, eventually qualifying as a public health physician with specialist qualifications in medical leadership and management, a Masters of Public Health and a PhD also. Anxious to ensure both equitable access to care and best health for the most vulnerable in our community, in 2019 Rosemary worked with numerous agencies across diverse sectors to establish Ballarat For Kids, a whole of city initiative to optimise child health and well-being. Rosemary is now the Clinical Director Grampians Public Health Unit (GPHU). 

Supporting your Health and Wellbeing

Grampians Health Ballarat Psychology Department

This year it has been even more challenging to do the small everyday things that support our health and well-being. We are finding new ways to do what we need to do each day, and we are also supporting family, colleagues, friends and neighbours.  It can be easy to forget to do the things that support your own health and well-being.

So, we asked our psychologists from the Grampians Health Ballarat Psychology Department, “What’s one thing you’re doing to support your health and well-being?”  Their answers might surprise you, or might remind you of some of the things that you could do to look after you!

This is definitely a COVID-era video, and you’ll see how the Psychology team is staying connected each day; you will see we’re at work, at home, and dealing with all the challenges of working online, working from home, and working with PPE … as well as doing those small things to support our health and well-being.

Stay well Ballarat, from all of us.

Exercise Physiology

Annabel Brennan
Exercise Physiologist 
Grampians Health Ballarat

Annabel Brennan has 4 years’ experience as an Exercise Physiologist at Grampians Health Ballarat. Her roles include clinical gym & hydrotherapy based rehabilitation in addition to involvement in the Healthy Weight Management program. Annabel is also a lead therapist in the Grampians Health Ballarat Staff Fitness Program, conducting Pilates class and designing exercise programs for staff members.

Click here for more of Annabel's recommended static and seated stretches.


Kate Falconer
Health Promotion Manager & Accredited practising Dietitian (APD)
Grampians Health Ballarat

Kate’s university qualifications include a double degree from Deakin University – a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Bachelor of Applied Science, Health Sciences majoring in Exercise Behaviour. Kate has 14 years’ experience as a dietitian, working across a wide range of specialties including weight management and oncology. In 2018, Kate took on a new opportunity in the prevention space, working within the Health Promotion department at BHS. The COVID pandemic has been very challenging and a crucial time for health promotion. As our daily lives at work, school and home have changed so much, maintaining healthy eating and physical activity may be challenging, however is so important for our health and wellbeing.  

Social Work

Valetta Fraser
Clinical Manager Social Work and Aboriginal Hospital Liaison Officer
Grampians Health Ballarat

Valetta completed a Bachelor of Social Work and Social Sciences in 2002, followed by a Master of Social Work in 2008 and a Diploma in Management and Managing Projects in 2010. Valetta has worked in various Public Health Services across many program areas over the past 18 years. Valetta has worked in leadership positions for the past 12 years and is a strong advocate for Communities of Respect and Equality.

Aboriginal Women's Health

Celeste McMurray
Registered Nurse
Grampians Health Ballarat

I'm Celeste McMurray and I'm a proud Murriajabree woman. I haven't always been a registered nurse but I always knew I wanted to help people. I have been in the music industry for 10 plus years and a passion for horses lead me to work with horses and their owners since I was in my teens. There's not to much I haven't done but nothing beats my love for nursing and helping people. Nursing is the most rewarding job I have ever been in and couldn't imagine myself anywhere else.

Patient Perspective

Penny Johnston
ABC journalist & the Babytalk Podcast

In a long career working for the ABC in a range of different positions she says talking about babies with experts is her favourite job.

Moving to Ballarat in 2012 was a chance to live in regional Victoria and enjoy parenthood and being close to family. What wasn’t expected was a diagnosis of breast cancer in early 2013.

‘I was completely shocked when my GP said it’s cancer. I had only just randomly located a lump. I didn’t have any history or expectation of cancer. It took me a while to find my feet after hearing the news.’

As any cancer survivor will tell you diagnosis is swiftly followed by a flurry of tests, surgeries, treatment plans. ‘There’s not much room to think and a lot of information you need to absorb quickly’. Knowing how hard it is to come to terms with a diagnosis and the flood of information that follows, Penny Johnston suggested to the Grampians Integrated Cancer Service that a podcast ‘might help’.

The Cancer Survivor Guide podcast has slowly been discovered and used by people in the Grampians region and beyond to unpack what their cancer treatment might mean to them.

Three new podcasts outlining what allied health services on offer in Ballarat, psychology, diet and exercise have been added this year.

Penny tries hard not to imagine what life would have been like if she hadn’t discovered that lump in early 2013 but remains grateful for all the amazing health professionals she met in the course of her treatment in Ballarat.

McGrath Nurses

Joylene and Leanne are McGrath Breast Care Nurses who work in the Ballarat and lower Grampians region providing support to both early and advanced breast cancer recipients. They support clients from diagnosis through to wellness after life, guiding and navigating the treatment trajectory and offering resources and materials to ensure informed and individualised decisions are made. Their role also sees them offer education and awareness to the greater community about breast cancer and health promotion. Both have extensive experience in cancer nursing, obtaining post graduate certificates in breast cancer specialities and continue to enroll in ongoing education opportunities to ensure the support and information they provide is current and evidence based.

Joylene Fletcher
Breast Cancer Nurses, McGrath BCN 
Grampians Health Ballarat

Leanne Storer
Breast Cancer Nurses, McGrath BCN 
Grampians Health Ballarat

Finding a General Practitioner

Looking for a general practitioner or health service locally? The National Health Services directory is an online resource that can help locate practitioners near you.

Women's Health Resources

Below are a number of helpful resources for women's health:


Pap smears

National Bowel Screening 

Mental Health Services and Support

Beyond Blue

The Black Dog Institute

Lifeline Australia

Most importantly, we encourage you to talk to someone if you are concerned about your mental health or need support. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, colleague, team leader, or your GP; and remember that any time of day you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

Grampians Health Ballarat Employee Assistance Program: 1300 687 327 (Confidential counselling service for BHS staff members and families)

Grampians Health Ballarat Mental Health Services: contact 24 hour Access and Triage on 1300 247 647

​Your GP can provide invaluable assessment and support for your mental health. GPs can also refer you to appropriate mental health support in the community.

Reproductive Health

1800 MY OPTIONS is a free confidential, non-judgmental, woman-centred phone line and online service, giving you information about contraception, pregnancy options (including abortion) and sexual health. 

Click the link below or call 1800 696 784 for more information.


Are you pregnant or a new parent?

Did you know that all our Maternity and Postnatal support services are still fully operating to support you through a safe and healthy pregnancy, birth and postnatal period?

Visit the Women's and Children's Health page for more information.

Breast Cancer Resources

BreastScreen Victoria aims to reduce the impact of breast cancer by ensuring the best health outcomes through early detection. We invite eligible Victorians aged 50−74 to have a free breast screen every two years.
Your breast cancer risk increases with age, that’s why a free breast screen every two years is an important way to look after your health. 
Breast screens are with a female radiographer in a safe and friendly environment and take only 10 minutes to complete. Breast screens are for those with no symptoms and you do not need a doctor’s referral or Medicare card.
For more information and bookings, visit the website or call 13 20 50.
In the Grampians Region breast screening is available in Ballarat (Queen Elizabeth Centre), Horsham (Wimmera Health Care Group) and many locations where the mobile BreastScreen Victoria van visits.

McGrath Foundation

Breast Cancer Network Australia

Cancer Council

Watch this video on how to perform a Breast self-examination

Family Violence Services

The following family violence services can be contacted by all members of our community 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Safe Steps – 1800 015 188. Crisis support, information and emergency accommodation.

1800 Respect – 1800 737 732. National sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.

Sexual Assault Crisis Line – 1800 806 292. A central coordination centre for all recent sexual assaults providing an immediate crisis responses throughout Victoria.

Berry Street, Western Victoria - 03 53313558. A local independent child and family service organisation.

If you feel unsafe or are concerned for someone's safety, call police on 000.

Exercise Resources

Some great exercise and pelvic floor resources for women of all ages:

VicHealth Initiative 

Exercise Right Woman's Health

Exercise Right E-Book

Pelvic Floor First

Pelvic Floor First Exercise

Nutrition Resources

For further information visit Eat Right for more nutrition and dietary guideline resources.

Click the link below for a women and food infographic.

Alcohol Support Resources

Alcohol support is available online or over the phone through Direct Line or Hello Sunday Morning.

Ballarat Community Alcohol and Other Drugs Counselling Services are also available locally.

Victorian Healthcare Association event

The Victorian Healthcare Association is hosting an event for health sector leaders via Zoom on Tuesday 10 September 2021.

Leadership perspectives: the case for gender equality in health aims to support senior leaders from health services impacted by the Gender Equality Act. Hear from sector leaders on the case for change and how organisations and society will benefit from the successful implementation of the Act. 

Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from: 

  • Dr Niki Vincent, Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner  
  • Dr Sue Matthews, CEO of The Royal Women’s Hospital and VHA Board Chair 
  • Chris McLoughlin, Executive Director People and Culture at Alfred Health. 

Smoking Cessation

Read more about the health benefits of quitting smoking here.

This video shows the health benefits of stopping smoking.

Quit Victoria has helpful tools that can help you understand your smoking habits, and choose the best way to quit.

Ballarat Community Health also has local smoking cessation services.

COVID-19 Disclaimer

In response to the challenges and restrictions COVID-19 has presented, Grampians Health Ballarat is adapting with agility to offer digital resources and services. Our clinicians have filmed these videos themselves, on their own devices, which has allowed this resource to be produced promptly, without requiring face-to-face interactions. Please note, the media quality will reflect this.

A majority of these videos were filmed in 2020; their content remains relevant today.

Have something to tell us? We welcome all feedback from patients, family members or carers. Tell us more.