What happens when I call PANDA?
Our counsellors are respectful and compassionate towards ALL our callers, whatever their background, nationality or sexuality. PANDA’s Helpline service is a safe and secure place to disclose personal details, including whether you are LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex or Queer).
Your call will be answered by a counsellor who will record 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
I spoke with the counsellor and felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders. It was the first step on my road to recovery and I’ll always remember how kind and comforting the voice on the other end of the phone was and how soon I started to feel better.
You don't need a diagnosis
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. Everyone’s experience of parenthood is unique, and there’s a lot we’ll want to know about you! 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 any 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.