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PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia)

 

Welcoming a baby into the world is always reason for celebration, but what happens when a new arrival is accompanied  by intense feelings of anxiety? Alarming statistics reveal that one in seven new mums and one in ten new dads  develop postnatal depression after the birth of their baby that's 71,000 Australians every year.

 

PANDA is the Post and Antenatal Depression Association, a telephone helpline offering women and their families support and information about depression and anxiety during pregnancy and after the birth of a baby. Encouraging women to talk about their depression is a crucial step on the road to recovery.

 

More from PANDA

 

Perinatal anxiety and depression are common and serious mental health concerns. 1 in 10 women are thought to experience depression during pregnancy with the rates rising to 1 in 7 in the postnatal period. Further, 1 in 20 expecting dads struggle with antenatal depression rising to 1 in 10 in the postnatal period. Anxiety rates are believed to be higher with many people experiencing both at the same time. Left untreated, perinatal anxiety and depression can have a devastating impact on the individual, infant, relationship and the broader family.


PANDA provides the only national perinatal specialist Helpline. The National Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Helpline is a free service responding to the needs of families across Australia, from major cities to rural and remote areas. Helpline peer support workers and professional counselling staff offer support, information, counselling, risk management and referral to mothers, fathers, family and friends, and secondary consultation to health professionals.
As experts in the lived experience of perinatal anxiety and depression, PANDA understands the importance of ongoing support for new mums or dads who are grappling with shame and stigma as they struggle to navigate both a mental health issue and new parenthood. Outgoing follow up calls can be a lifeline – particularly for those in remote areas with limited local support. At all times PANDA’s focus is on the emotional and mental wellbeing and safety of mother/father and infant.

 

The facts:

• 100,000 families will be affected by perinatal anxiety or depression this year


• Perinatal anxiety and depression is common, does not discriminate and has many faces


• 40% of women diagnosed with depression at 12 weeks post birth report experiencing symptoms during pregnancy


• Early intervention is crucial to limit potentially devastating outcomes for the individual, infant and broader family unit


• Stigma and shame can result in those affected wearing a ‘mask of coping’. This delays help-seeking, often until a crisis presents. In fact, it is estimated that 7 in 10 women hide or downplay their symptoms


• Postpartum psychosis affects 1-2 women out of every 1,000 births per year. This is a serious mental illness that requires immediate inpatient medical attention.

 

PANDA encourages new parents and families to start the conversation by speaking openly about their emotional and mental wellbeing. PNDA Awareness Week (November) provides the opportunity to raise community awareness through Lunch Out Loud, which encourages friends, family and colleagues to get together over lunch (or morning tea) and have a conversation on the joys and challenges of parenthood.
Visit the PANDA website for more information.

 

PANDA’s Website No.1 Worldwide For Mums With Postnatal Depression
PANDA’s website has been rated as the leader worldwide for mothers with a postnatal mental illness in an independent
international study. See why, including and the great information and resources here.


Postnatal Depression Affects Men Too

Around one in 20 dads are diagnosed with postnatal depression (PND) every year in Australia and many more
experience it without being diagnosed. Men are more at risk if their partners have had it. Find out how to spot the signs
and support new dads with our special fact sheet here.

 

 


 

Susan's Story


Susan's story

“Never in a million years did I think postnatal anxiety and depression would happen to me.


In a very short time I became highly strung, extremely anxious, agitated, sad, withdrawn and unmotivated. Lack of sleep led to paranoia and I lost touch with reality.


My husband initiated help in many forms, including calling PANDA. I was diagnosed with severe postnatal depression/psychosis and admitted to Northpark Mother Baby Unit where I began my journey to recovery.


I have been healthy for more than 2 years now and my husband and children have their wife and their mum back, and for that we are forever grateful.”


- Susan Hyatt