Q&A with Bec Schafer from PANDA - Perinatal Mental Health Week 2021

How can we support the families in our lives as they transition into parenthood and postpartum?  Bohemian Skin supports PANDA all year round but donates even more during PANDA week 2021!

To commemorate PANDA week 2021, we sat down with PANDA’s Communications and Fundraising Manager, Bec, to chat about all things perinatal anxiety and depression. As a company, Bohemian Skin is proud to support PANDA in the incredible work they do for Australian families. 

What is PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) 

PANDA is a not-for-profit that supports women, men and families across Australia to recover from perinatal anxiety and depression and postnatal psychosis. These are serious mental illnesses that can affect any expecting or new parent and have devastating consequences for individuals and families if left untreated. Together, these illnesses affect around 100,000 families across Australia every year.  

What is the purpose of Perinatal Mental Health Week? 

Perinatal Mental Health Week is an opportunity for all organisations working in the perinatal area to raise awareness of perinatal mental health. Perinatal mental health affects 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men both during pregnancy and in the first 12 months after the birth of their child.

How can we support the families in our lives as they transition into parenthood and postpartum? 

Starting a conversation or letting expecting and new mums and dads know that you are there to listen is a great way of supporting your loved ones. Focus on providing practical help and gentle emotional support. Try and listen when your loved one expresses difficult or uncomfortable feelings or thoughts without jumping in to ‘fix it’, minimise it or ‘make it better.’ 

Encourage your partner, friend or family member to open up to their GP, midwife, obstetrician or child health nurse – or call PANDA’s National Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline 1300 726 306.

Have you found that the number of parents suffering from anxiety and depression has increased during COVID-19? 

We have seen a doubling of callers to the PANDA Helpline, which indicates an increase in perinatal mental health issues during COVID. We have also seen parents reaching out earlier, and we are proud of the increased number of parents reaching out for help and reaching out earlier to get support.

When a parent reaches out to PANDA, what services do you provide them with to help them through their challenges? 

PANDA’s National Perinatal Mental Health Helpline is Australia’s only free, national helpline service for women, men and their families affected by perinatal mental illness. The Helpline provides a safe and confidential space for any new or expecting parent struggling with the challenges of becoming a new parent. We offer free counselling, support, information and referral to health professionals such as psychologists.

You can also complete the Mental Health Checklist on our website to see if what you’re experiencing or observing in a loved one could be a reason to seek help.

Why is it so important for new and expecting parents to have access to professional support? 

Becoming a parent is a huge transition for all parents. In fact, we know that it is one of the most challenging transitions we go through in life. Recovery can involve more than one approach and it’s best to discuss options with your GP, another trusted health professional or PANDA.
Expecting and new parents experiencing mental distress are vulnerable to risks including mental health decline, self-harm, suicidality, family violence, misuse of alcohol and other drugs, and of harming their child. Early help-seeking, diagnosis and access to support increase the likelihood of a fast recovery.

How Does Bohemian Skin Support PANDA 

PANDA relies on donations to do much of our work supporting expecting and new parents affected by perinatal mental illness. Bohemian Skin has been a very generous supporter of ours and their donations over the years have helped us provide high-quality services as well as supply vital information and resources to families and health professionals.

Would you like to know more about PANDA?

PANDA website here for all the resources and support available from their wonderful tam. 

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