Every November, Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Awareness (PANDA) Week provides a great opportunity to increase understanding in the community about an illness that is more common and more serious than many people realise.
In 2019, our theme for the Week was “Let’s get real” to open up conversations about some of the less-talked-about experiences of perinatal mental illness and to try to encourage expecting and new parents who are struggling with their mental health to be open and up front about what they’re dealing with.
Across PANDA Week 2019 we saw communities in every corner of the nation reaching out to support each other with their experience of perinatal mental illness. People shared stories showing that becoming a parent can be tough but also that there is light at the end of the tunnel – that perinatal mental illness can cause a massive disruption for individuals and families and can even put lives at risk, but there is help available, either within their own family or community, through a service like PANDA or via a local health professional.
Here are some highlights of PANDA Week 2019:
Seven TV stories featuring PANDA and our incredible Community Champions reaching millions of people in communities across Australia
220 radio appearances across the country reaching into all the key cities but also across rural and remote Australia into places like Thursday Island, Cairns, Coffs Harbour, the Riverina, the Kimberley, New England, Western Queensland, Gippsland and Southwest WA
More than 50 print and online media stories raising awareness, reducing stigma and promoting PANDA’s National Helpline
PANDA’s ‘Let’s get real’ messages being shared through social and other online channels helping thousands of new followers to know about PANDA’s expertise and services and how to seek help
A range of creative and inclusive PANDA Day events happening right across the Week and across the country, raising awareness in communities and also critical funds for PANDA
More than 50 PANDA Community Champions getting involved through media, events or social sharing
PANDA at Work program launched and one month later we had over 90 registrations, including around 25 organisations with more than 100 employees
Thousands of expecting and new parents struggling with their mental health prompted to reach out for help, with our Helpline experiencing a 79% increase on the average weekly number of calls
Almost 1300 expecting and new parents completing PANDA’s Mental Health Checklist, taking the number now completed in just 12 months to over 26,000.
We also shared crucial information and resources with health and community sector partners, workplaces and others who work with vulnerable families, including around 75,000 printed resources in the weeks leading up to PANDA Week.
Thanks to the support we received right across the country in sharing messages, raising awareness and reducing stigma, people everywhere – including health professionals – are now much better informed about the kinds of struggles faced by expecting and new parents. Hopefully those who are struggling with their mental health are also less inclined to delay seeking help.
To everyone who supported our efforts across PANDA Week 2019, we say thank you!
PANDA Week 2020: Sunday November 8 – Saturday November 14.
How are you going?
To see if what you’re experiencing or observing in a loved one could be a reason to seek help, fill out a short mental health checklist.