What happens when I call PANDA?
You can call The National Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Helpline on 1300 726 306 Monday-Friday 10am - 5pm (AEST)
Your call will be answered by a counsellor who will seek some basic contact details and ask a few questions about what prompted you to call the Helpline and about your own and your baby’s immediate safety. While you can choose to remain anonymous most of our callers don’t. From here the call unfolds for you as a storytelling experience. We want to understand what you are concerned about and how it is affecting you and your family.
If all counsellors are on calls you are encouraged to leave a brief message on the answering machine and you will receive a call back as soon as possible within the same day.
Why would I call PANDA?
Most people call PANDA to seek support for themselves. However, we also receive calls from concerned partners, family, friends and health professionals. Being a parent can be very emotional and challenging, often in ways we don’t expect. Sharing your story with someone who understands what you are going through can be a valuable step in your parenting journey.
Some people call because they are finding the transition to parenting tricky. Others call because they are worried they may be experiencing perinatal anxiety or depression. Generally something has prompted them to make that first call. Some of the reasons we hear are:
I don’t know what’s going on but I just don’t feel like myself
I cannot stop thinking about the birth…..it was nothing like I had planned
I just yelled at my toddler…..I am not the parent I wanted to be
I am so tired I can’t do this anymore
I hate being a mother………I feel so guilty
I am struggling in my relationship….everything has changed since the birth of my baby
I’m not sure I should be having this baby
I had thoughts of driving into a tree this morning, it scared me, I need help
You do not need a diagnosis of perinatal anxiety or depression to call PANDA. Almost everyone who calls is seeking to make sense of unfamiliar thoughts and feelings. It is not our role to provide you with a diagnosis. Rather we aim to help you understand what is happening for you and your family, and to provide information and options for you to get additional support.
The first call
The first call is about listening to your story. The telephone counsellor will provide you with a safe confidential space for you to talk openly and honestly about your thoughts, feelings and experiences around pregnancy and parenthood. We will explore what supports you currently have in place and whether you would benefit from others.
PANDA maintains a database of perinatal service providers to help find you the support you need as close to you as possible. The counsellor will develop an action plan including referrals, ideas and strategies that will help support you.
Follow up calls
After the first call, it’s up to you whether you would like to continue to receive telephone counselling support. PANDA provides a follow up service aimed to support you as you navigate your new parenting role and relationship changes; try out new strategies to manage difficult thoughts and feelings; and connect with services in your community. We hear each day of the many obstacles faced when trying to access the ‘right’ help at the ‘right’ time. A large part of our role is to help overcome these obstacles. We can follow up with you until you are feeling well connected and able to manage without the additional support. You are free to call PANDA again at any time.
Any information you share with PANDA will be treated as confidential unless there are serious concerns for the safety of you or someone else, in which case we will need to engage support to help keep you or another safe. We will make all attempts to work with you in this process.
We are grateful to the Australian Department of Health for funding this vital program.