What to expect when you call PANDA
How does the Helpline work?
PANDA's National Perinatal Depression Helpline, funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments, provides vital support, information, referral and counselling to thousands of Australian parents and their families. Callers do not need to have a diagnosis of antenatal or postnatal depression to make contact with the Helpline, PANDA is keen to support any new parent struggling during pregnancy or after the birth of their baby, as well as their partner, family and friends.
Once the caller makes the first call:
- PANDA is committed to all calls to the Helpline being answered by a human voice, in an Intake role. The first call to a Helpline to seek support can be very difficult and we believe human connection and support are vital.
- The Intake Worker will seek information from the caller about the reasons for the call to the Helpline and record this as a messag,e to then be allocated to the counsellors to return the call, usually before the end of the day. This is because the counsellors will be taking other calls.
- The counsellor will be keen to understand what has led to the call and what is happening for the caller, listening for the areas of additional support that the caller might have to ensure that they are safe and well.
- The outcome of the first call for many people is that Helpline counsellors will seek consent from the caller for the Helpline to maintain contact with them - providing regular follow up support calls, as often and for as long as required to ensure the caller is accessing services in their local communities and they have made progress on their recovery journey. This is particularly vital in situations where the services are not available, eg rural and regional communities, or until the caller is able to access local services.
- This ongoing follow up call program, providing Helpline support, education and counselling, is unique to PANDA.
- Throughout their involvement with the PANDA Helpline the counsellors will be aiming to provide referral details of additional local community and health services that the caller may benefit from as well as strategies and support to access these services. Many callers also receive an Information Pack of PANDA fact sheets and resources.
- In some situations PANDA will need to speak with medical and health professionals involved with the caller to ensure that we are providing relevant and constructive support.
- To support the caller receiving help and to prevent repeat telling of their story PANDA counsellors will take and maintain written notes within the caller's Helpline records. These files are kept confidentially and securely, used only for the provision of Helpline services.
- Everything the caller tells the counsellors on the Helpline will be confidential, with the exception of situations where there is assessed risk to the wellbeing and safety of the caller, their baby or children or another family member. PANDA counsellors, with the support and supervision of senior clinical staff, will review this situation and take carefully considered action required to ensure the safety of the caller and their family.
All callers to PANDA Helpline can expect to be treated in keeping with the following principles of practice.
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