What is Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Awareness Week?
Perinatal Depression & Anxiety (PNDA) Awareness Week, previously known as Postnatal Depression Awareness Week, is an important opportunity to raise awareness about perinatal mental health issues in your local community. It is a time to increase community knowledge about mental health during the perinatal period and eliminate the stigma so that those affected can seek appropriate help and support.
A number of organisations across the country are involved in raising awareness and promoting mental health during Perinatal Depression & Anxiety Awareness Week.
WayAhead, previously known as the Mental Health Association NSW, is encouraging community organisations and individuals across NSW to get involved in PNDA Awareness Week. The focus this year is to hold Parents’ Events.
Who is WayAhead?
WayAhead is an NGO and registered charity with over 30 years of experience in coordinating health promotion campaigns in NSW. WayAhead facilitates Perinatal Depression & Anxiety Awareness Week as an opportunity for organisations to focus attention on this important health issue and affected population.
Why be involved?
Research suggests that up to 1 in 10 expected women and 1 in 20 men are likely to experience antenatal anxiety or depression. Furthermore, up to 1 in 7 new mums and 1 in 10 new dads struggle with postnatal depression each year in Australia (PANDA, 2015). Anxiety disorders are just as prevalent during the perinatal period and can occur alone or with depression (PANDA, 2015). By planning a Parents’ Event, you will be helping parents understand more about the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are different to the normal stresses of having a baby and helping them to realise that they are not alone.
When is it?
12 November – 18 November, 2017
Small grant applications due:
Friday 15th of September
Grant applications extended to Friday 22nd September
Posters available to download HERE
What we can offer
Small Grants Program 2017
WayAhead offers a number of small grants of $1000 or $500 to assist the staging of Parents’ Events during Perinatal Depression & Anxiety Awareness Week 2017. This year, we want to encourage a range of diverse groups to engage in our campaign. Therefore, we are looking to award grants to events that will focus on one of the following groups: Culturally & Linguistically Diverse (CALD) groups, Indigenous groups, youth (16 – 24 years), grandparents, fathers, LGBTIQ or general communities.
Any organisation or community group with a registered ABN or auspiced by an organisation with an ABN wishing to undertake a project or activity during PNDA Awareness Week 2017 in NSW is eligible to apply. The planned event must clearly tie in with the guidelines for PNDA Awareness Week 2017 and associated events as set out in the application form.
To access an application form or find out more about the small grants program, head to our perinatal site: pnda.wayahead.org.au/grants/.
Free Promotional Resources
Free promotional resource packs will also be available to order for your Parents’ Event. These resources will are ready to order. Orders close on 26th October. The best way to order free resources is through our PNDA Awareness Week Resources webpage when resources are released. pnda.wayahead.org.au/resources/
Order are usually mailed by early November and take up to 7 working days to arrive at delivery address.
Event Calendar Registration
Be sure to promote your event by getting listed on our online events calendar. Let your community know about your event and find out what other people are doing across NSW. Please register your event even if you don’t want to be included in our online calendar of events. This will help us measure the impact of Perinatal Depression & Anxiety Awareness Week across NSW.
The best way to register your event is via Register.
Who do I contact if I have questions?
Any questions about what we have to offer or general enquiries about the Perinatal Depression & Anxiety Awareness Week 2017 can be directed to email@example.com
Tips for Planning your Parents’ Event
Parents’ Events are a way for new and expectant parents to share information about parenting and perinatal mental health while offering a time of fun and relaxation. Organisers can be very creative in finding ways to talk to new and expectant parents about looking after themselves and their emotional health, providing information about the types of mental health challenges faced by some parents and who can help.
You may already have a great idea for an event but it is still important that you take a moment to think about what you want to achieve with your event. Think about questions like:
- What are you saying with your event?
- What is it that you want people to know, understand or commit to by the end of your event?
- What experience do you want them to have?
Some goals can include helping parents understand:
- The importance of looking after their mental health during the perinatal period
- That help can be sought for Depression and Anxiety as well as other mental health concerns
- The importance of parents looking after themselves, watching out for each other and asking for help when needed
How can you make it happen?
Once you have a clear idea of what your event is about you can start to think about how to make it a reality. Some of the questions you could ask yourself include:
- ‘What type of event best fits my goals?’ – There are so many types of events and activities that you could host, think about which one will best achieve your goals and appeal to your intended target audience. Some ideas from previous years are included below.
- ‘What do I need for this event?’ – Budgeting is essential to the success of your event. Create a detailed checklist of the things you need to host your event and get some quotes.
- ‘What will I need to do?’ – You might find it helpful to write yourself a timeline of activities you need to complete to prepare for your event and a run sheet for the day. If you are working with a team, decide who will do what and when. Monitor your progress and don’t underestimate the value of confirming all details close to your event.
Be careful when planning your event that it doesn’t unintentionally create fear about all the things that could go wrong for parents. Celebrate parenting and make sure parents leave feeling empowered to meet any challenges that may arise. These events are about creating greater awareness of perinatal mental health in an accessible and supportive way and making sure parents know where they can go for help.
Speakers with Lived Experience
While including a speaker with lived experience of either Perinatal Depression and/or Anxiety, or another mental illness can be a great way to break down stigma, there is an important duty of care in asking someone to share their story. Make sure your speaker is appropriately supported and understands the potential consequences of making their experiences public.
It is also a good idea to chat with your speaker about how they will tell their story. Will it help listeners experiencing hard times feel less alone and motivate them to seek help? Will it ultimately send a message of hope and recovery, allowing them to feel good about themselves and their parenting?
The SANE Australia media centre has great information regarding this. Be sure to check out ‘Supporting spokespeople with a mental illness’ provided in the link below:
You might require sponsorship of some type, either in the form of cash, services or goods. A good idea is to approach existing local groups or businesses within your community.
Partnering with other groups, even those that don’t have a traditional focus on mental health, is a great way to spread costs and increase impact. Partnerships are also great ways to engage parts of your community that you might otherwise not have much contact with.
Alternatively, you may like to apply for a small grant.
Promoting your event
Promotion can greatly increase the number and diversity of people who attend your event. Consider the following avenues:
- Local newspaper and radio
- Posters and flyers in local businesses and community noticeboards
- Council event listings
- Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
- Word of mouth
If you are holding a public event then using the media is a great way to get more people to attend. For more information about how to promote your event in the media, refer below.
Events offer a good opportunity for local media to also bring attention to perinatal mental health issues. Working with the media is another way we can promote positive mental health and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness in the community.
Looking After Others at Your Event
– as well as Yourself
PNDA Awareness Week is a time when parents and people around them are prompted to find out more about mental health problems and seek help. This can be a difficult and confusing time for the person seeking help and can also be a confronting experience for those around them, including the person they reach out to. Some tips that you might find useful if someone approaches you for help at your event are shared below:
- If you work for a mental health organisation or are a mental health professional, you will have experience in responding to enquiries about mental illness. Otherwise, it can be useful to have some information prepared that you can pass on to people who have questions you don’t have answers to.
- You might like to gather some information on local organisations and services suitable for you target audience
- Listen actively to what people are saying to you. While it can be helpful to share the experiences of yourself or of others, try to avoid making comparisons
- Avoid making judgements about behaviour that may seem unusual to you. If someone is talking with you about their mental health, they trust you to be understanding and non-judgemental
- Respect that people are entitled to determine their own course of action. It is up to them what they do with the information provided to them
Know your boundaries
- Before the event, have a think about what your boundaries are. What do you feel confident talking about? What might you need more information or support with? When might you need to refer someone to another source of assistance?
- Be honest about your limitations and communicate them clearly. It’s ok not to know everything yourself. Let the person you are talking to know if they are asking you for information or assistance that you can’t immediately provide
Look after yourself and your team
- Remember that looking after yourself and your team is just as important as looking after others
- Consider getting together before the event to have a chat about your plan and after the event to talk about how you think things went and to celebrate
- Keep an eye out for each other on the day
Practical Ideas for a Parents’ Event
Events can be anything that you think will get your message across. They can be as fun or imaginative as you would like them to be. Last year’s Perinatal Depression & Anxiety Awareness Week saw some really creative Parents’ Events across NSW. Some events focused on reaching all types of parents in general while others targeted Indigenous parents, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) parents, LGBTI parents, young parents and dads.
Here are some ideas from previous years to help you plan your Parents’ Event. These events have been broken down into categories of the target audience reached.
General Parents’ Event
An exciting ‘Lunch & Learn’ event for all parents invited an educator and speech pathologist to talk about the stigma surrounding perinatal depression but also teach tools & techniques like baby sign language. Parents learned and practiced 20 signs that they could start using with their baby to support communication development.
Indigenous Parents’ Event
A ‘Weaving Wellness’ workshop facilitated by a local Aboriginal artist was held for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in the perinatal period. Women attending the workshop learned weaving techniques – a powerful cultural activity that incorporates mindfulness, skill building and social support. Local health services were also invited to provide information about perinatal wellbeing, self-care, and early childhood care.
Culturally & Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Parents’ Event
Art and crafts classes were set up alongside guest speakers and morning tea for Urdu speaking and Arabic Parents. Three qualified and experienced guest speakers introduced the importance of self-care, what perinatal anxiety and depression is and how to access help. Attendees understood the benefit of looking after themselves, finding time for their own interests and the importance of connecting with others.
Young Parents’ Event
A local beauty event was held whereby trained students provided manicures, pedicures, hand massages, face masks and baby massage demonstrations to young mums. The focus was on self-care, social connection and linkage to locally based support services. Resources about perinatal mental health, support playgroups and services were also available.
Fathers Parents’ Event
A group of fathers & fathers-to-be from a small bilingual community were invited to a day at the zoo. Along with the fun-filled outdoor activities, the day was facilitated by a male clinician who also presented information about managing anxiety and depression and the challenges of fatherhood specific to that culture.
Tips for Evaluating Your Event
Evaluating your Parents’ Event can help you measure your success and plan future events. You could use our feedback form available here to evaluate your event or develop your own evaluation form. It is important to consider evaluation during the event planning process.
Before the Event
- Nominate a person to be in charge of the evaluation
- Make sure you know before the event what you need to find out in order to evaluate your event and how you are going to find out this information. Think about the following questions: ‘How will we know that our event is successful?’ and ‘How can we measure these outcomes?’
Help Us Evaluate Perinatal Depression & Anxiety Awareness Week
We need your help to measure the impact of Parents’ Events in the wider community. We have developed an Event Report for Organisors and Attendee Feedback Surveys to distribute to your attending members. This is also a great way for you to get feedback on your event!
Please email feedback forms to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gathering Feedback from the Organisational Team
You may also obtain useful feedback on your event by surveying those who have helped you organise and stage the event. It is a good idea to get together at the end of or after the event to talk about how the event went.
- This would also be a good time to congratulate the team and thank them for their efforts. You may like to have a small thank you party
- An organisers’ survey could be distributed and completed by all helpers so that you can evaluate the event from their point of view
- You may also like to hold an informal round table, asking team members to name one thing they enjoyed most, and one thing that could be improved on in future.
Promoting Your Event in the Media
You can raise awareness of your Parents’ Event by promoting it to your local media 2-4 weeks in advance of your event taking place. Even if you are holding a private event (not open to the public), you may still wish to tell the media about it beforehand so that a journalist can attend part of the event and write a story about it to go into the local paper afterwards. Alternatively, you can write your own media release and send it to local print, radio and TV journalists.
The following 10 tips will assist you to establish a good working relationship with your local media and ensure that perinatal mental health issues are covered with accuracy and sensitivity:
- If you are holding an event as part of an organisation always gain approval from your Manager or head of Department first, as most organisations, particularly NSW Health, have codes of conduct and policy that relate to the way employees relate to the media
- Have a media release prepared and email it to your local print, radio and TV journalists about 2-3 weeks in advance of your event taking place. If you don’t receive a reply, follow up with a phone call to the Editor or Producer about two days after you’ve emailed it.
- Target your media release carefully. Approach each paper or outlet individually – don’t send a release about a book launch to a Sports Editor or one email to multiple journalists.
- When answering any questions or sending more information regarding the media release, always be polite and never demanding. Media are under no obligation to automatically publicise your event, but if you mention that it is a free local event for a good cause – then you are likely to have a good chance.
- Offer the media a photo to go with the story. This might be of yourself and your organising team, or yourself and the sponsors of your event. It may be of yourself with a parent you know who has recovered from a perinatal mental illness (only if the person has truly recovered and is prepared and comfortable to talk to the media about their experiences).
- If you are interviewed by media and asked something that you’re unsure of or uncomfortable talking about – remember that is it okay to say “I’m not sure about that” or “I’m not comfortable talking about that particular issue”. You are never obliged to disclose anything you don’t want to. Remember, nothing is ‘off the record’ when talking to the media
- The person you speak to may not be familiar with reporting mental health stories – be prepared to explain terms that may not be readily understandable or direct them to other sources for more information. Mindframe is a great source for appropriate reporting of mental illness: www.mindframe-media.info
- Don’t be shy! Your event could be really interesting local news. Think about what is newsworthy about your event and mention it – are holding the only community fair in your town this month? Have you found a local celebrity to speak? Is going to be an even bigger and better repeat of a successful event from last year?
- Keep in touch with your media contacts after the event is over. Even if they haven’t run a story yet, if you can provide good photos and details on how successful the event was they may still include it. Whatever the outcome, make sure to say thank you for their time.
- If you know a person willing to talk to media about their recovery from a perinatal mental illness, the person must be supported and must fully understand what is being asked of them as well as the likely consequences of making their experience public. Ask them to consider:
- If they are comfortable with their story being printed (possibly with a photo)
- How their partner/family might feel about their story being made public
- How they might feel if people in their extended social circle read it and asked about it