Education in the community
PANDA delivers education sessions to community groups and events across Melbourne and Victoria, including expecting and new parents groups, support groups, playgroups and community events. Volunteers involved in community education activities:
- Share their own stories of perinatal anxiety, depression and recovery
- Run discussion activities with group participants to open up supportive conversations about the challenges of early parenthood and mental health
- Inform participants about perinatal mental health, the PANDA National Helpline and other support options.
PANDA provides training, help with preparation, and support before and after sessions. Sessions are delivered by the CET Coordinator and a volunteer, by two volunteers together, or by one experienced volunteer.
Training health professionals
Training is always delivered by a PANDA staff member, often accompanied by a CET volunteer. The staff member delivers training based on evidence and learnings from the PANDA National Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Helpline, while the volunteer shares their lived experience. PANDA trains health and other professionals working in:
- Maternity hospitals
- Maternal and child health services
- Counselling and mental health services
- GP clinics
- Childcare and family support services
- We also train community volunteers in other organisations that support new parents and families.
Who can become a Community Education and Training volunteer?
Most CET activities occur within metropolitan Melbourne and its immediate surrounds, but we are building our capacity to deliver in Victorian regional and rural areas. All CET volunteers must have a ‘lived experience’ of perinatal anxiety or depression, whether they experienced it themselves, or cared for a partner who did. Our volunteers draw on this experience – and on our extensive training and support – in their work educating community groups and health professionals.
Why volunteer in PANDA’s community education and training programs?
- It's rewarding and empowering: Sharing your own lived experience of perinatal anxiety, depression and recovery in a public forum can be rewarding and empowering. Many of our CET volunteers feel that this role gives them an opportunity to turn a very difficult life experience into something that makes a positive difference to other families.
- You can develop new skills and knowledge: As a CET volunteer, you will develop new skills and knowledge through training, supervision and ongoing professional development. Our volunteers receive training in public speaking, group facilitation, and in turning their experiences of perinatal depression and anxiety into a ‘story’ that they feel comfortable to share publicly, to benefit others. Once CET volunteers are active in their role, their skills are further enhanced by ongoing supervision and support, biannual group training and supervision, and other professional development opportunities.
"After recovering, I wanted to turn my negative experience into a positive one by volunteering with PANDA to support the lifesaving work they do. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that I’ve raised awareness about perinatal anxiety and depression in a first time parents group." — Michelle