PANDA – Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia – supports the mental health of parents and families during pregnancy and in their first year of parenthood.
Perinatal mental health challenges are serious and can involve a lot of stigma.
PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) supports parents and families during pregnancy and throughout the first year of parenthood.
PANDA operates Australia’s only National Perinatal Mental Health Helpline for individuals, their families, support people and health care providers.
Our phone and online services provide access to counselling and information to support mental health and wellbeing, informed by evidence-informed mental healthcare practice, and the expertise of people with a lived experience.
PANDA recognises that becoming a parent is a big transition. It can impact your personal identity, family dynamics and relationships with yourself, your baby and others.
Our free services play an important role in assisting new and expecting parents, and supporting the people around you during this transition. We support all families, especially those facing barriers accessing mainstream services.
PANDA’s vision is a world where perinatal mental health is understood and valued.
Our Helpline, 1300 726 306, operates Monday to Saturday (and public holidays) from 9am – 7:30pm Monday to Friday and 9-4pm Saturdays, AEST and is staffed by trained and experienced counsellors and volunteers.
Our vision and purpose
PANDA’s vision is a world where perinatal mental health is understood and valued. Where the health care system meets the needs of all people and where stigma and barriers to seeking help no longer exist.
We want people to know how and where they can access support and empower themselves to be the best they can be in the perinatal period and beyond.
Through the voices of people who have lived experience, their family, carers and supporters, we inform governments, planners, providers, employers and the wider community to understand and support people experiencing perinatal mental health issues.
What we do
PANDA PROGRAMS AND SERVICES
PANDA National Helpline
PANDA’s National Perinatal Mental Health Helpline is Australia’s only free, national helpline service for families impacted by perinatal mental health and wellbeing challenges. The PANDA National Helpline provides a safe, confidential space for any new or expecting parent coping with the challenges of becoming a new parent.
The Helpline is staffed by qualified counsellors and peer support workers (practitioners and lived experience volunteers), who help you work through challenges by talking openly and honestly about your thoughts, feelings and experiences and providing counselling, support and referrals. Counsellors are compassionate and solution focussed, and peer workers listen and support.
Intensive care and counselling program
PANDA Helpline’s Care and Counselling program provides ongoing counselling, consultation and service navigation support for expecting and new parents experiencing complex mental health and wellbeing challenges. We work alongside other health care providers in supporting people with high care needs.
Health care provider training
PANDA’s health care provider training is available to anyone working with expecting and new families, who would like to upskill in supporting people experiencing perinatal mental health and/or wellbeing challenges. Training includes understanding barriers to seeking help, encouraging disclosure, providing appropriate referrals and the skills needed to offer ongoing support for people experiencing challenges during the perinatal period. PANDA training is practical, evidence-based, and directly informed by the expertise of our lived experience community.
Secondary consultation for health care providers
PANDA is the only organisation in Australia to offer a free perinatal mental health secondary consultation service for health care providers. PANDA provides support to health care providers with a broad spectrum of enquiries, including case exploration and formulation, risk management, debriefing, care referral options and pathways, and professional development opportunities for those wishing to upskill in perinatal mental health and wellbeing support.
Community Champions program
PANDA Community Champions are central to what we do and are an active community of people with lived and living experience of perinatal mental health and wellbeing challenges. Champions contribute daily to PANDA's work and advocate for greater awareness and change to the mental health system. Their work includes storytelling, sharing their experiences in the media, fundraising, and research and development.
Clinical champions program
PANDA’s Clinical Champions program is a national network of clinicians and health professionals working in perinatal mental health who work collaboratively to help PANDA champion and support perinatal mental health care across the community and in health care settings.
PANDA’s website features a range of tools and resources including a mental health checklist, evidence-informed information, fact sheets about perinatal mental health, translated resources and online learning via PANDA Learning Hub.
PANDA volunteers share their own stories and run educational activities to raise awareness of perinatal mental health in new parent groups, playgroups and other community settings.
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 groups and provide 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 care providers
- 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 health issues to influence government policy to support people experiencing perinatal mental challenges.
PANDA National Helpline
Find someone to talk to, Monday to Saturday.
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).