PANDA’s National Perinatal Mental Health Helpline is Australia’s only free national helpline for people affected by changes to their mental health and emotional wellbeing during the perinatal period. We support people throughout pregnancy up until their baby is 12 months old.
The Helpline provides a safe and confidential space for any expecting or new parent needing support with the challenges of becoming a parent.
We also speak to concerned support people who want information on caring for someone experiencing challenges during the transition to parenthood, including:
- Family and friends
- Health professionals
Many people in the Australian community don’t know about the signs and symptoms of perinatal anxiety and depression, or where to turn for support. The PANDA Helpline can help you identify what kind of care you need and where to find it.
Free counselling, support, information and referral
Our highly trained and caring counsellors help you work through your concerns by providing a safe, confidential space to talk openly and honestly about your thoughts, feelings and experiences.
We’re here to help you:
- Make sense of what you or your loved one is experiencing during the transition to parenthood.
- Identify your current coping skills and strengths as an expecting or new parent, or support person.
- Explore a range of perinatal mental health and wellbeing care strategies.
- Understand the support and treatment options available for expecting and new parents.
- Link in with community-based perinatal supports in your area.
You don’t need to be experiencing a crisis to reach out to PANDA. We speak to callers about a broad range of issues that come up during pregnancy and early parenthood.
Some examples of what we often talk about on the Helpline are below, but please know that whatever’s on your mind, no matter what it is – we're here to listen and help.
Common concerns people call PANDA about include:
- Changes to mental health, emotional wellbeing, or daily function.
- Bonding and attachment during pregnancy or with your baby.
- Trying to process a pregnancy or birth that didn’t go as planned.
- Parenting challenges.
- Changes to self-identity and/or relationships.
- Caring for someone else and wanting to know how you can best support them.
We encourage you to reach out to PANDA for support at any stage of your perinatal journey, and for any reason. We know you’re the expert in your own life, and we’re always guided by what you think you need for yourself and your family. Together, we’ll explore which support options might be most helpful.
Reaching out is the first step
If you’re experiencing changes to your mental health that are impacting your wellbeing, relationships and daily function, PANDA is here to support you. We know that the sooner you seek help, the more quickly you can recover.
Many people who feel like they need help may delay telling their loved ones and health professionals - or feel unsure about where to start looking for support.
It takes trust and courage to confide in someone that you’re having a hard time. Often callers tell us there’s lots of expectation they’ll be feeling joy and excitement at this time of life, when the reality is so different. Feelings of sadness, confusion, frustration and shame can make it hard to reach out and tell anyone you’re not coping in the way you’d hoped.
Some people are concerned about talking to health professionals (like their doctor or child and family health nurse) about what they’re experiencing as an expecting or new parent, for fear of judgement or their concerns being dismissed.
Having open and honest conversations about your mental health can feel overwhelming and difficult to do. Yet every day our callers tell us it’s such a relief to talk to someone who cares - and know that you no longer need to keep trying to manage everything on your own.
Taking that first step to tell someone you need support is the fastest route to recovery.
Our Helpline counsellors can help you work through any concerns you have - including talking to your loved ones and health professionals. Together we’ll explore ways to start having conversations about your mental health and emotional wellbeing with the people who care for you. We can also help you to link in with any additional supports you may need.
Reach out early
Becoming pregnant or having a baby can be both exciting and challenging. We hear from three families about how they experienced the upheaval of new parenthood.
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).