PANDA asks community for help in meeting unprecedented demand for support from expecting and new parents distressed by coronavirus
19 March 2020
During the devastating drought, bushfires and flooding over the past few months, PANDA’s National Helpline saw a 5% increase in calls from expecting and new parents distressed about what was happening. More recently, with rapidly accelerating coverage of the global spread of the coronavirus, that pressure has increased yet again.
Prior to this period, PANDA’s Helpline was already running at capacity. This recent increase in demand has added to the strain felt by our expert and caring Helpline team. It has also come at a time when we are experiencing staff shortages due to the effects of the coronavirus, and while we are potentially looking to move operations at short notice to adapt to the evolving coronavirus situation.
This increased demand combined with disruption due to the coronavirus means some expecting and new parents struggling with a range of mental health issues are calling PANDA but experiencing a delay in accessing our help. It means some people are not getting the support when they need it.
This unprecedented situation prompted PANDA to go out to our community asking for donations. We are asking for help to create and distribute expert digital and hard copy resources that take pressure off the Helpline and can be accessed by every member of the community who needs them.
Our website content, digital resources and hard copy fact sheets, brochures and posters help people understand perinatal mental illness and where they can find support within their own communities. With PANDA’s Helpline in such high demand, these resources play a critical role in catching people quickly when they need support the most.
It costs money to create these expert resources, and to distribute them both digitally and through the mail to all corners of Australia. Our websites and digital resources – including our Mental Health Checklist for Expecting and New Parents – are being viewed and downloaded more than ever before. And hospitals, health and community organisations, medical clinics and maternity wards continue to order resources in higher volumes than ever.
Yet without some additional funds we just can’t print and deliver them where they need to go.
In 2019 PANDA distributed a quarter of a million individual resources for free to people affected by perinatal illness and to those who support them. That incredible demand has continued and we have had to use up most of our allocated funds just to keep up.
In these unprecedented times we need the support of our community more than ever - and so do expecting and new parents across the country. This is why we have turned to our community at this time to help out.
People interested in donating can do so here.