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. It can affect up to one in five expecting or new mums and one in ten expecting or new dads.
PANDA’s vision is a world where perinatal mental health is understood and valued.
PANDA operates Australia’s only National Helpline for individuals and their families that provides access to counselling and information to assist with perinatal mental health issues.
Our Helpline, 1300 726 306, operates Monday to Saturday (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 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 people affected by perinatal mental health challenges.
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.
Care Coordination Program (Victoria and Adelaide)
The Care Coordiantion program provides ongoing counselling and support for expecting and new parents with more complex perinatal mental health experiences.
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 professionals working in perinatal mental health and who help PANDA champion and support mental health in the perinatal period.
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.
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 health issues to influence government policy to support people experiencing perinatal mental conditions.
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).