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Building your community of care

Find the people and services who can support you on your parenting journey.

Every family needs a network of caring support people around them

Pregnancy and early parenthood can feel exciting and joyful, but also isolating and stressful at times. Sometimes these feelings all come up at once. Every baby and every parent needs a community of people who are by your side through parenthood’s many challenges and joys.

Your community of care might include: Family and friends, health care providers, new parent groups, online support groups, parent helplines and other people and services who can support you.

Read about Australian's views on what makes a family in the Australian Institute of Family Studies report.

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Making new connections
How to build your community of care
Parent and infant care
Family care
Real-life stories

“For many, family are the people we choose with 41% considering close friends or people they’ve chosen to be part of their family.”

Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2023
Making new connections

You deserve friendship, connection and support

If you’re reading this and thinking “I don’t have those connections in my life”, please know that you’re not alone.

Many callers to the PANDA Helpline share with us that they don’t have any supportive relationships. Callers worry they won’t be able to make new friends easily, or don’t know where to meet people. Many are concerned that other people might feel like they’re a ‘burden’ or ‘needy’ for wanting someone to care enough to provide some company and comfort.

You’re not a burden. You’re someone who deserves friendship, connection and support.

“As soon as I feel stressed or anxious, I speak to someone. I no longer hold it inside. I can then work out how to deal with it.”

Bree, PANDA Community Champion

How to build your community of care

Building a community of care around you and your family may take some time, but there are lots of ways to get started:

  • Texting a friend
  • Joining a conversation in an online support group
  • Joining a parent group or playgroup
  • Speaking to your doctor
  • Contacting a helpline

The simple act of reaching out to connect with someone else is the best way to start.


It's OK to start small


How health care providers can help


Finding community in-person


Finding community online




Your community of care starts with you

Regular practice of self-care can increase your confidence and ability to care for yourself through all of life’s challenges.

Learn more
Parent and infant care

Self-care for you and your baby

Babies need care – in the form of emotional and social connection – just as much as adults need a self-care routine.

Family care

Caring for the whole family

Learn about the importance of self-care for the whole family, and find out about some of the activities you and your family can try.

Your presence in other people’s lives is more powerful than you can imagine.

The beautiful thing about communities of care is that they provide connection for everyone involved. The story you share with your midwife about your birth experience may help them to support another parent in future. The smile and wave you give your elderly neighbour out the window might reduce their own feelings of loneliness.

Caring works both ways. Allowing people to support us also creates opportunities for us to be there and care for other people.

Looking after ourselves, our babies and our community can help us all to maintain good mental health, and increase feelings of wellbeing, self-worth, and a sense of belonging.

If you’d like to start building your community of care but feel unsure where to start, please feel welcome to call the PANDA Helpline.

PANDA Helpline counsellors and peer support volunteers can help you explore all the different community-based options, and figure out what supports might suit you best.

“Our small or large acts of service create healthier and happier communities for generations to come.”

Jessica, PANDA Community Champion
Real-life stories

all stories
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).


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PANDA acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land where we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.

At PANDA, we embrace the power of diversity through inclusion. We strive to foster belonging and empowerment at work. We create relevant messaging and marketing for our diverse consumers. We listen and engage with our diverse communities. And we value collaboration with our diverse suppliers.

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While PANDA has exercised due care in ensuring the accuracy of the material contained on this website, the information is made available on the basis that PANDA is not providing professional advice on a particular matter. This website is not a substitute for independent professional advice. Nothing contained in this website is intended to be used as medical advice, nor should it be used as a substitute for your own health professional's advice.

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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.