More Australians than ever will be able to access PANDA’s specialist perinatal mental health helpline to receive the support they need thanks to a recent funding commitment from the Australian Government.
Women and men affected by perinatal anxiety and depression – as well as their families and loved ones – can now access the PANDA’s National Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline from 9am-7.30pm AEST/AEDT, an increase in operating hours of 50 per cent.
PANDA CEO Terri Smith said it has become clear from feedback that some callers were finding it difficult to contact the helpline due to work commitments or different time zones in Australia, and that PANDA was pleased to be able to extend its service to help more Australians.
“This means more vulnerable Australians receiving specialist perinatal support from trained telephone counsellors and peer support workers who really understand how they are feeling, and know how to help them take the first steps to recovery,” Ms Smith said.
She said PANDA would like to thank the Australian Government for demonstrating its ongoing commitment to perinatal mental health services through an overall funding package to operate the National Helpline for the next two years.
“At the same time PANDA remains committed to providing the most understanding, compassionate and expert perinatal mental health support to those who need it,” said Ms Smith.
Perinatal anxiety and depression is a serious and common illness, affecting around 100,000 Australian families every year. Signs and symptoms can include constant sadness or crying; panic attacks; persistent, generalised worry; sleep problems unrelated to the baby’s needs; lethargy; loss of confidence and self-esteem; and withdrawal from friends and family.
Stories to share
PANDA has a large pool of volunteer Community Champions right across Australia who have lived with perinatal anxiety and depression and are available to share their stories and be photographed. These real life stories bring the experience of perinatal anxiety and depression to life – illustrating the complex and often devastating nature of the illness but also demonstrating that with timely treatment there is hope of recovery.
For more details or to arrange interviews or photography please contact Leticia Brown on 03 9926 9090 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
PANDA’s National Helpline extends its hours by 50 per cent