Services Near You
The WayAhead Directory lists over 6,500 services across New South Wales and is easy to use. Search using the keyword “perinatal” and include your postcode to find a comprehensive list of services you can access.
WayAhead also has a number of anxiety support groups around NSW – you can find out more by visiting our Understanding Anxiety site. Although not specifically for Perinatal Anxiety, the groups can be an excellent source of help and support for anyone experiencing anxiety, and run in over 30 locations. The website also has loads of information about anxiety and recovery.
The PANDA Helpline is a free phone counselling and referral service and can be reached on 1300 726 306 9am – 7.30pm Mon – Fri (AEST/AEDT)
The Helpline provides a safe and confidential space for any new or expecting parent or caregiver struggling with the challenges that can bring. You can call once or multiple times. As well as providing comprehensive support from skilled counselors, the Helpline can also provide information about other services in your area. This includes local medical services, mental health services and family services. The Helpline can connect you with these services.
PANDA works closely with people with lived experiences of Perinatal Anxiety and Depression, and Postpartum Psychosis, and make sure to include consumers in all aspects of their work. The Helpline is an excellent resource. More information can be found on the PANDA Website.
Across Australia 100,000 families each year will experience some form of perinatal depression and anxiety as part of the period extending from the beginning of pregnancy up to the baby’s first birthday. Many others have felt the feelings that you are experiencing, you are not alone. Others have shared their personal stories and how they got through this period in their life, these stories are located on PANDA’s website –
Connect and Learn
Sometimes it can help to connect with others going through the same thing. SANE Australia hosts online forums – they are moderated to ensure discussion is safe and respectful.
The Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE) website has information about PNDA, as well as general parenting and pregnancy information.
The Parent-Infant Research Institute (PIRI) website has great information, but also hosts the free, online treatment program MumMoodBooster – which provides researched, CBT-based treatment, personal support, and an extensive online library.
This Way Up hosts the MUMentum online course, which has been shown to reduce symptoms of PNDA in as little as four weeks. This course costs $35 for the 3 month course, and access to the resources is provided for 12 months.
MumSpace offers a range of services, resources, and information, and is designed to quickly connect you with the information and level of service you need.
How Is Dad Going is run by PANDA and is a resource designed specifically for Dads, and the information can also be relevant to non-birth parents and caregivers who are not dads.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and caregivers
Finding services that have appropriate cultural competency is an important part of finding the right support. Often screening for PNDA is not properly conducted with expectant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents, and services which do not understand the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and caregivers can actually make things worse. Sometimes support services can unfairly stigmatise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and caregivers which can be a huge barrier to accessing support. Finding a service which has good cultural competency, including an understanding of the impacts of intergenerational trauma, can make a huge difference. If you already have a GP or other health care provider that you feel safe with, that’s a good place to start.
Sometimes there can be a lot of fear when it comes to admitting you’re having difficulty as a parent or caregiver due to the ongoing effects and threat of child removal, the PANDA Helpline offers confidential counselling – if you have concerns about talking about your difficulties to health professionals or your community this is a great option. They can be reached on 1300 726 306 9am – 7.30pm Mon – Fri (AEST/AEDT)
The Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council has a map and list of member organisations including Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Related Services. The Deadly Tots Project focuses more on raising kids, but has links to parenting support and playgroups which can be a great way to connect with community. You can also find a list of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander playgroups through PlayGroup NSW
Rural, regional, and remote parents and caregivers
There may not be a perinatal mental health specialist you can access in person. You can use the WayAhead Directory to search by location and keyword to find out what is close to you, but sometimes specific services aren’t available or are available infrequently. Speaking to your GP can also help identify services that you can access. There are some online self-support courses which many people have had success with. Check out MUMentum, provided by ThisWayUp. The subscription for MUMentum is $35 and they offer supervised and self-help options. MumMoodBooster is a researched and validated online treatment program which is provided free for Australians. The Gidget Foundation offers a free video counselling service – Start Talking – which requires a referral and mental health care plan from your GP.
The PANDA Helpline is a free, confidential phone counselling service, and can be reached on 1300 726 306 9am – 7.30pm Mon – Fri (AEST/AEDT)
Sex, sexuality, and/or gender diverse parents and caregivers
A lot of the information about PNDA focuses on “Mum and Dads” and heteronormative family structures, but the truth is that PNDA can affect all different sorts of families, including non-heterosexual parents, poly families, families who adopt or foster, and parents and caregivers with intersex conditions and gender diverse parent/s. Not all services that help with perinatal mental health will also be safe for sex, sexuality, and/or gender diverse parents. Homophobia, transphobia, and cissexism can all contribute to or exacerbate PNDA, especially when it comes from those meant to support you, such as health care providers. Many sex, sexuality, and/or gender diverse parents and caregivers have also reported that institutionalised homophobia and transphobia have negatively impacted their mental health- including through barriers to service accessibility, and barriers to financial support. It’s well within your rights to ask questions of services before you see them to make sure they can give you the support you need. As always, a good place to start is a GP you already know and trust. It can also help to connect with other parents, such as through Rainbow Families. PANDA also has a fact sheet which has more details.
ACON’s Welcome Here project can help in identifying health providers in your area, and QLife offers phone and online counselling and referrals.
Whilst the PANDA website focuses on “Mums and Dads”, the counselors on the PANDA Helpline are encouraged to use and reflect words used by the caller, including preferred pronouns. They can be reached on 1300 726 306 9am – 7.30pm Mon – Fri (AEST/AEDT)
You can also check out this short film:
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
Navigating a health system in a new country can be really difficult, which can be compounded when there are language barriers. Many Culturally and Linguistically Diverse parents and caregivers also experience stigma and racism when trying to access services, which can increase symptoms of PNDA. It can be especially difficult if you feel isolated from your community and support structures.
The Transcultural Mental Health Centre can help connect you with groups and communities, as well as provide general information. If you already have a GP you can trust that’s a good place to start. As talking about these things can be difficult it can be helpful to have someone with you who can interpret if you need, or you can contact the Translating and Interpreting Service who can also be used to call helplines.Beyond Blue also has a number of translated resources.
The counselors from the PANDA Helpline are comfortable conducting sessions using interpreters – they can be reached on 1300 726 306 9am – 7.30pm Mon – Fri (AEST/AEDT)