20-10-2017 04:46 PM
With Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Awareness Week commencing Monday 13 November, we will be running a Q&A session in collaboration with Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia @PANDA
Who is PANDA?
Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia supports women, men and families across Australia to recover from post and antenatal depression and anxiety, a serious illness that affects around 100,000 Australian families every year.
This year, the awareness campaign theme is – ‘It Happened to Me’.
From Monday 13 November - Friday 17 November, we are opening the floor for you to ask any questions you have about perinatal anxiety and depression and @PANDA will be responding throughout this week.
Responses will take up to 24 hours, so be sure to keep checking in!
13-11-2017 01:25 PM
We are so excited to be here for the next five days for Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Awareness Week!
We would love to hear from anyone wanting ask questions or talk about their own experience, so please post below.
Some of the reasons that mums and dads might call our helpline include:
- Feeling overwhelmed during pregnancy or after baby is born,
- Wondering whether the symptoms they are experiencing are a normal part of becoming a parent or something more,
- Worries about attachment to baby,
- The many ways that having a baby can affect an intimate or a close relationship,
- Finding the transition to parenthood to be more difficult that they expected,
- Grieving the life someone might have had before they had a child,
- How to get the best support for your mental health during the perinatal period,
- How best to support a loved one who is finding pregnancy or having a baby difficult.
We look forward to hearing from some of you over the next week.
14-11-2017 04:41 PM
Hi @PANDA, it's so nice that you're spending time with us in the forums this week. We are huge fans of your service.
Can I ask something a little mundane to kick us off? I think it would be great for people to know what you do. We know that you have a helpline but not what that means for help-seekers. For example, are you counselling or information and support? Do you do longer-term work or is it single session? It always helps to recommend a service when you really understand what they provide.
14-11-2017 05:11 PM
Hi there @suzanne,
Great question, thanks for asking this!
PANDA's Helpline is the only national telephone counselling service dedicated to perinatal mental health ('perinatal' meaning the period during pregnancy and up to one year after birth). Even though it's called a Helpline, it's much more than a one off information service. We have a wonderful team of professional staff who offer telephone counselling, follow up support, local referrals and evidence based information to help you make sense of what's happening and what you can put in place to start to feel better.
If you're ringing PANDA for the first time, you can expect to speak with one of our counsellors for up to an hour. We'll ask you for some contact details and we'll want to make sure you and your baby are safe. Then we'll give you the chance to share your story, what's been happening for you, and how you might want things to be different. Everyone's experience of the journey to parenthood is unique, and we want to know what it's been like for you.
We understand that you might be having some thoughts or feelings that are troubling you. People often tell us they feel unexpected negative emotions or have scary thoughts, and the PANDA Helpline is a safe and confidential to talk about things that are often hard to say to a friend, partner or a health professional. You don't need a diagnosis to call us -- anyone worried about their own mental health during pregnancy or after birth is encouraged to call. We also talk with partners, parents, in-laws, neighbours and friends who are supporting someone going through a difficult time.
After that first call, it’s up to you whether you would like to keep receiving support from us. Our follow up service is designed to help you try out new strategies to manage difficult thoughts and feelings, and connect with services in your community. We can follow up with you until you are feeling well connected and able to manage without the additional support..... and you are always free to call PANDA again at any time.
I hope this helps everyone get a better sense of the work we do here. Look forward to chatting with some of you soon!
The PANDA Team
16-11-2017 12:35 AM
16-11-2017 12:55 AM
Hi Bella095, Thank you for posting here. I have sent you an email. I am sure you will get some wise advice and support from your fellow forum members. Please keep in touch.
16-11-2017 11:18 AM
Thank you for sharing your exprience here, it takes a lot of courage to reach out and we are really glad you are doing so.
It can be really scary when you have tried hard to conceive and find yourself feeling less excited about your pregnancy and the prospect of having a baby that you hoped or expected. We hear on our Helpline from parents who often blame themselves for these feelings and find them difficult to share and talk about. We talk with pregnant and new mums every day who are confused and disappointed with the feelings they have towards their pregnancy. It can be really helpful to share these thoughts and feelings as you are @Bella095, at PANDA we know these are signs that your emotional and mental health need care and attention.
We know that one in five new or expecting mums experience PND and some of them also experience thoughts of suicide. This is a very vulnreable time for a women's mental health and previous experience of depression or anxiety might also put you at a higher risk of experiencing PND.
The good news is that we also hear lots of stories of recovery and we really encourage you to get support for your emotional and mental health as soon as you can. We would welcome a call from you to our Helpline to speak with one of our counsellors who can really get to know your story and help you decide what feels like the right step for you and your family. Our number is 1300 726 306 and we are open Mon-Fri 9am-7:30pm AEDT.
We also encourage our callers to see their GP and share their experiences with them. If you don't have a GP you feel comfortable with, PANDA can help you locate a GP with expertise in perinatal mental health.
Finally, if you are having thoughts of suicide again or feel that you need to talk to someone about how you are feeling, you can always call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
We hope this has been helpful and we look forward to hearing from you very soon.
The PANDA team.
16-11-2017 12:09 PM
Thanks for spending time with this week. It is really quite surprising how prevalent perinatal mental illness is. And I think it is great that the experiences of men at this time are getting more focus. Saying that, men also require support when their partner is unwell or for their own experience. I understand that men can also develop a form of post natal depression, can you tell us a bit more about men and PND?
16-11-2017 03:40 PM - edited 16-11-2017 03:42 PM
Thanks so much for your question about men and their mental health in the perinatal period.
You are so right that it is common for dads to struggle too.
About one in 20 men experience anxiety or depression during their partner’s pregnancy (antenatal) and up to one in 10 new dads struggle with anxiety or depression in the year after their baby's birth.
Men may be impacted by financial stress, changes in their relationship with their partner, the responsibility of caring for a vulnerable newborn, anxiety about their baby's wellbeing or a lack of confidence as a parent, among other things.
As you said, it is also true that many men need support when their partner is experiencing perinatal anxiety and depression. There can often be a strain on the whole family, especially when you add the care of a young baby and other children into the mix.
Because dads' difficulties have been less recognised in the past, it can sometimes be harder for them to reach out for help. More and more dads are now calling the PANDA helpline and getting the support they deserve - for their own mental health or for the stress of caring for a partner who has perinatal anxiety or depression.
We have a great online resource www.howisdadgoing.org.au, which is packed with advice, guidance and men's personal stories.
And we welcome dads calling our national helpline to speak with one of our counsellors. The helpline is open from 9am to 7.30pm (AEDT), Monday to Friday on 1300 726 306.
Thanks again for raising this important issue!
The PANDA team
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