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Guide to groups

PANDA's Guide to Groups helps upskill playgroups and group facilitators so they are skilled, informed about perinatal mental health, and supported in their work.

Parent's group sitting in a circle with children

Who should use this resource?

This resource is for people interested in establishing and facilitating groups that support the emotional wellbeing of new and expecting parents.

This may be:

  • Health professionals: child & family health nurses, early childhood educators, counsellors, speech therapists, movement therapists, art therapist, occupational therapists, social workers.
  • Peer workers with additional group work skills working in the context of a community or government organisation. 
  • Playgroup leaders who have completed “Is your playgroup PANDA aware?” training and want to extend their knowledge and skills

How to use this resource

PANDA acknowledges that learning is not a linear process but rather, an ongoing process of action and reflection; reflecting on issues of lived experience, of values, of beliefs – those of one’s own, of the systems and services we work within, of the communities in which communities we work with.

As well as opportunities to reflect on your role, this guide also offers real life cases of excellence from across Australia. We invite you to read, listen, watch and practice.

This guide is designed to be used alongside PANDA’s Learning Hub where we have free courses to support playgroup leaders and group facilitators.

PANDA Learning Hub

Things to consider before setting up a group

Groups should be established with the support of services or community agencies, ideally in partnership, to ensure resources and supports are available to the facilitators and the group.

The role of PANDA in supporting group programs

PANDA offers consultation and reflective practice opportunities for health professionals and peer workers who are interested in starting or are currently running supported playgroups or support groups for parents at risk of/experiencing perinatal mental health challenges, such as anxiety and/or depression.

Download a PDF version of PANDA Guide to Groups

Helpful Information

Parent's group
Community education
Read More

PANDA Guide to Groups


Becoming a peer worker


Benefits of group programs for parents with perinatal anxiety and depression


The importance of play


Group work theory


Group Transition Framework


Tips for group facilitators


Tips for engaging parents with perinatal anxiety and depression in groups


Assessing the need for a group


Implementing a group


Group evaluation


Digital health - the rise of online support groups during the pandemic

Useful links

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Everyone’s experience of pregnancy, birth and parenting is unique and brings different rewards and challenges. Our mental health checklist can help you to see if what you’re experiencing or observing in a loved one could be a reason to seek help.