PANDA’s Community Champions program began in 2016 and brings people with lived experience together to help us advocate for perinatal mental health.
Community Champions have experienced mental health challenges in the perinatal period (and/or have cared for people at this time) and use this experience to raise awareness reduce stigma and share messages of hope.
By drawing upon lived experience expertise and embedding it across all our work and the work of our partners, we can ensure that our advocacy, programs, projects, and services represent the diverse nature of our community and their needs.
Who can be a PANDA Community Champion?
PANDA Community Champions are passionate about raising awareness of perinatal mental health and the work of PANDA.
To be a champion you must:
- have been through a personal experience of perinatal mental health challenges, or supported someone who has
- live in Australia.
How does the program work?
Community Champions contribute to PANDAs work in perinatal mental health and work to advocate for greater awareness and change to the mental health system.
As a volunteer, your role as a Community Champion is flexible, so you can get involved whenever you have the time.
What kinds of things can I get involved in?
Share your story
Storytelling plays an important role in raising awareness, reducing stigma and encouraging people to seek support. By sharing your own personal story, you can help to break down barriers and share the importance of reaching out for help. This could be on our website, a campaign, a podcast, radio, or newspaper.
Raise awareness in the community
You could share your story or experience with media like TV, radio or in the newspaper (online or print). Or your story might be published on PANDA's website.
Awareness and fundraising events
Fundraising for PANDA helps us to reach out to expecting and new parents, health care professionals and the community. There are lots of different ways to host a fundraising event, from hosting get-together with friends/family/parent groups/work colleagues, organising a marathon, walkathon or pram walk, or even host a movie night at your local cinema.
Research and development
PANDA partners with other perinatal and mental health services, and researchers. We are committed to sharing our knowledge about the lived experience and contributing to the evidence. By participating in research projects, you can add your voice to the growing data about the impact of perinatal mental health challenges.
How to apply
If you would like to help shape our work and share your experience and expertise as a PANDA Community Champion, simply register here:
Joining the Community Champion program is free and getting involved is voluntary. You can be a part of a community where you can be a part of as many or as few opportunities as you like. There is no minimum commitment and you can leave the program at any time.
Before you register to be a PANDA Community Champion, please make sure you read:
- the position description so you understand what being a Champion is all about
- some tips to make sure you are ready to volunteer
We encourage applications from people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, Dads, young parents, people with disabilities, people who identify as LGBTQIA+, and people in rural and remote communities.
If you require specific support to apply for this position or have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A bit more information
Every person’s recovery journey is different. Whatever your experience has been, to volunteer with PANDA, it is crucial that you are on a journey of recovery and have good support around you.
Depending on which opportunities you get involved in, you may need to listen to people describe their own perinatal experiences and feelings. Good support and debriefing is always available through PANDA, but resilience and ‘robustness’ can help ensure you can volunteer safely and contribute the way you want to.