Up to one in five pregnant or new mothers and one in ten expecting or new fathers will experience perinatal anxiety or depression and about 100,000 families across Australia will be affected by this serious and common illness.
Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Awareness Week (11-17 November) was established in 2015 by specialist not-for-profit organisation Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA) to raise awareness of this issue.
PANDA has helped tens of thousands of Australians get vital information and support for antenatal and postnatal depression for over 30 years. The week helps support the mental and emotional wellbeing of expecting and new parents, including raising awareness about the signs to look for and where to go to seek support.
This year’s theme is ‘I Wish I Knew’ and PANDA says many expecting and new parents are blind-sided by the realities of becoming parents. Many parents, looking back, feel that if they had known more and been better able to prepare for some of the challenges they might have been better able to cope. PANDA also stresses that Perinatal Anxiety & Depression is a common mental illness but may go unnoticed with symptoms often being dismissed as ‘normal parts of pregnancy or early parenthood’.
Perinatal anxiety and depression is treatable, and the earlier help is sought the faster the recovery. Left untreated, the impact on mum, partner, baby and the rest of the family can be long lasting.
“Local Midwives and Child & Family Health nurses are well equipped to screen and detect perinatal anxiety and depression during pregnancy and the early years of parenting; we can refer to specialised perinatal mental health care services to help parents experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression,” said Chelsea Anderson, Clinical Midwifery Consultant, Far West LHD.
A Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Awareness Week display stall will be in the Broken Hill Hospital foyer on Thursday, 15 November from 11.30am to 1.30pm.
For more information or support please contact the Broken Hill maternity unit on (08) 8080 1386 or visit www.panda.org.au