“PANDA actually saved my life! Without their help dealing with my postnatal anxiety and depression I may not be here today.” – Catherine, WA
Three months after Catherine and her husband Dave brought their new baby boy home from hospital, Catherine was extremely anxious and on edge. It went far beyond the typical stresses of new parenthood, and was becoming terrifying.
“I was falling apart. I couldn’t think clearly, and had all sorts of scary thoughts going through my head. My husband tried to encourage me to go outside, go for a walk, breathe some fresh air and clear my head. I suddenly thought that this was my way out. It would be so easy to go outside, and pretend to my husband that everything was fine; and then I could run in front of a bus and then all this would go away. And once I had that thought, I couldn’t un-think it.”
Catherine was experiencing perinatal anxiety and depression, a serious and common illness that affects 100,000 Australian families every year. Untreated, it has serious and potentially long-lasting impacts on women, men and children and can even put lives at risk.
Every day on the PANDA National Helpline we hear stories about the struggles of new parents like Catherine who are living with perinatal anxiety and depression.
Perinatal anxiety and depression can play with your thoughts and affect how you view the world around you. While Catherine was experiencing heightened feelings of anxiousness and even terror, which was affecting her judgement and her sense of self, others experiencing the illness can feel symptoms including sadness, low moods, constant crying and loss of confidence.
Sadly, too many in our community still don’t know what symptoms to look out for and therefore don’t seek help when they should. Others might recognise what is happening to them, but feel shame and stigma in admitting it and coming forward for help.
PANDA is committed to increasing awareness about perinatal anxiety and depression in the Australian community, including addressing issues of stigma and shame to help new mums and dads seek help quickly.
But you can help to by becoming a regular donor…
|$15 every month helps us supply vital information and resources to mums and dads affected by perinatal anxiety and depression so they can get support and recover more quickly.||$25 every month helps us break down the stigma surrounding perinatal anxiety and depression so people don’t delay seeking help, potentially putting lives in danger.||$35 every month can go towards educating health professionals about perinatal anxiety and depression so their patients get the right treatment and support.||$50 every month can help us train our Community Champion volunteers to share their stories in their local communities so people know the signs and can seek help before things get too serious.|
Seeing Catherine’s struggles, and listening to the life-threatening thoughts she was having, her husband Dave rang PANDA. During the course of several phone calls our highly skilled counsellors provided him with support and key advice on further action to take.
Shortly afterwards, Catherine was admitted to a mother baby unit, where she stayed for three weeks with little Alexander. It was a long three weeks, but with the appropriate treatment she started to improve. After she came out of the unit she was well on the way to recovery and is now in a much better place. Read her full story here >
Catherine’s story is just one of the thousands we hear at PANDA every year. Perinatal anxiety and depression has many faces, and requires specialised expertise to address effectively.
Regular donations are hugely valuable to us as they allow us to plan ahead and make sure our information, support and resources reach the people most in need of them. That means vulnerable expecting and new parents are able to identify what is happening to them and recover more quickly.