PANDA – Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia – supports the mental health of parents and families during pregnancy and in their first year of parenthood.
Perinatal anxiety and depression are serious illnesses that affect up to one in five expecting or new mums and one in ten expecting or new dads. PANDA strives for a community where perinatal mental illness, such as depression and anxiety are recognised and the impact on parents, children and their families is minimised through early detection, support and education.
We amplify the voices of people who have experienced perinatal mental health challenges to influence government, health advocates, healthcare providers, employers and the wider community to support people experiencing perinatal mental health challenges and work towards an Australia in which stigma, shame and barriers to treatment and support no longer exist.
PANDA operates Australia’s only National Helpline for individuals and their families that provides access to counselling and information to assist with perinatal anxiety and depression recovery.
Our Helpline, 1300 726 306, operates Monday to Friday (and public holidays) from 9am – 7:30pm AEST and is staffed by trained and experienced counsellors and volunteers.
Our vision and purpose
PANDA’s vision is a society where perinatal mental health is valued and understood and where stigma and systemic barriers to seeking help no longer exist.
We want every expecting and new parent to know how and where they can access help if they are experiencing perinatal mental illness.
We amplify the voices of people who have experienced perinatal mental illness to influence governments, health planners and providers, employers and the wider community to support people experiencing perinatal mental illness.
What we do
PANDA National Helpline
PANDA’s national perinatal mental health helpline is Australia’s only free, national helpline service for people affected by perinatal mental illness.
The Helpline provides a safe and confidential space for any new or expecting parent struggling with the challenges of becoming a new parent.
Our highly trained and caring counsellors can help you work through your challenges by talking openly and honestly about your thoughts, feelings and experiences.
Intensive Care Coordination Program (Victoria and Adelaide)
The Intestive Care Coordiantion program provided ongoing counselling and support for expecting and new parents with severe perinatal mental illnesses.
Health Professionals Training
PANDA’s health professionals training upskills health professionals in managing disclosure, providing appropriate referrals and facilitating ongoing support for people experiencing perinatal mental health challenges.
Secondary Consultation for Health Professionals
PANDA is the only organisation is Australia to offer a free, nationwide secondary consultation service for health professionals with a specialist focus on perinatal mental health.
We are committed to providing health professionals with the evidence and practice-based information and tools they need when caring for the mental health and wellbeing of expecting and new parents, their babies and support people.
Community Champions Program
PANDA’s Community Champions program is a national network of volunteers who champion PANDA’s mission to support families in a positive transition to early parenthood.
Clinical Champions Program
PANDA’s Clinical Champions program is a national network of clinicians and health professioanls working in perinatal mental health and who help PANDA champion and support mental health in th perinatal period.
PANDA volunteers share their own stories and run educational activities to raise awareness of perinatal anxiety and depression in new parent groups, playgroups and other community settings.
Our strategic plan
PANDA’s Strategic Plan 2019-2022 is based upon five principles. These principles are drawn from PANDA’s expertise, our community’s lived experiences, data from PANDA’s National Helpline and national and international research.
Awareness raising, information, support and clinical services should be informed by the lived experience of people who have been affected by perinatal mental illness.
Perinatal mental illness is common and treatable but still not readily talked about with partners, families, health providers and workplaces.
By listening to the voice of those who have experienced perinatal mental illness governments, service providers, workplaces and the community will be better able to support expecting and new parents affected by perinatal mental illness.
Early intervention reduces the impact and severity of perinatal mental illness on individuals, their families and future generations.
Increasing understanding of perinatal mental illness and reducing stigma resulting from the illness will help people seek help sooner and reduce the impact of perinatal mental illness.
History of PANDA
PANDA is a national not-for-profit organisation, formed in Victoria in 1983.
In the early eighties, two women experiencing postnatal depression saw the need for a support group for mums affected by childbirth related mood disorders -PaNDa (Post and Antenatal Depression Association) was established.
At the time, there was little information about childbirth-related mood disorders available. The group decided to approach a medical practitioner with a special interest in this field to be a consultant and referral source for the mums in the support group. Several hundred women and their families attended the first information session, eager to learn more about perinatal mental health and to meet others going through similar experiences.
In the early days, PANDA relied on hard working and dedicated volunteers - mums who had recovered from perinatal anxiety and depression - to run support groupor to providing 24-hour telephone support service from their homes.
A review of PANDA in 1999-2000 led to the establishment of:
- a telephone support Helpline that was office based and available during business hours
- answering machines that provided information to support after-hours callers
- A database of support groups run throughout Victoria by other facilitators.
From these humble beginnings, we have grown to an organisation that delivers:
- Australia’s only National Perinatal Mental Health Helpline
- Online and printed evidence-based resources
- Perinatal community education
- Perinatal training and development for health professionals
- Lived experience and community engagement programs
Advocacy and positions
PANDA works with our lived-experience community to develop position papers and policy submission issues that are important to them and PANDA.
Position Statements articulate views and values around specific topics, issues and policies directly related to the mental health and wellbeing of expecting and new parents and their families across Australia.
Our submissions amplify the voices of people who have experienced perinatal mental illness to influence government policy to support people experiencing perinatal mental illness.
Find someone to talk to, Mon to Fri, 9am - 7.30pm AEST/AEDT
1300 726 306
Call 000 for police and ambulance if you or someone else are in immediate danger
Talk with friends or family
Consider talking about how you are feeling with someone you trust. This might be a friend or family member. Once you starting talking you might be surprised at how many others have had similar experiences and the support they can provide you.
Talk with your doctor
Talking with your doctor can be an important step to getting the help you need. They should be able to give you non-judgemental support, assessment, diagnosis, and ongoing care and treatment. They can also refer you to specialists such as a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist.
Get help now
If you are having suicidal thoughts or are feeling disorientated it’s important to get help immediately. PANDA is not a crisis service, if you need immediate support call Lifeline 13 11 14 (24/7).