It’s time to get real about perinatal anxiety and depression.
That’s the message Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) is making loud and clear this year for PANDA week – and for a good reason.
“Dads feel that they’re going to be terrible parents”
New research from PANDA based on the findings from their mental health checklist revealed some sad statistics for new and expectant parents, particularly dads.
The data from 25,000 Australians shows that half of expecting dads feel they will be a terrible parent, while two-thirds feel more withdrawn from their partner.
Clinical Psychologist and the CEO of PANDA, Julie Borninkh says: “Three out of four mums who call PANDA’s helpline find it really difficult to adjust to being a parent and having a baby. We know that this can lead to conflict in their relationship both at home and at work.
“Sadly we’ve found that nearly half of new dads completing PANDA’s checklist feel that they’re going to be terrible parents and they don’t feel confident in this new role.”
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You are not alone
While this year’s PANDA Week (10 – 16 November 2019) is all about getting real about perinatal anxiety and depression, the organisation also wants you to know that if you are struggling, you aren’t alone.
“My advice to expecting or new parents who are struggling is that you’re not alone,” says Julie.
“We want people to be able to share their stories and help break down the stigma associated with perinatal mental illness, and we want people to be able to feel that they can reach out for help when they need it.”
There’s never a right time
For anyone concerned about a loved one, Julie says there’s never a right time to “raise these really big conversations.”
The great news is that PANDA’s research found the moment someone reaches out to say, “Hey, are you okay?” is the moment they turned to PANDA’s helpline for support.
The bad news is that new and expecting parents are waiting too long to seek help for anxiety and depression.
“We know that only 2 out of 5 callers reach our for help in the first four weeks of experiencing a tough time, but 1 in 10 is going to wait over a year before they actually seek help,” says Julie.
It can be tough to reach out and make those first steps, but Julie says “the sooner you seek help, the sooner you can start feeling better.”
Is this normal?
Of course, becoming a parent will have its ups and downs.
“We know that being a parent is really hard. Some days you’re going to feel like you can do it and other days you’re just going to feel like it’s all too much. And that’s A-OK,” says Julie.
But for any parents out there who want to know if what they’re feeling is normal, head over to the PANDA website and complete the mental health checklist.
“Once you’ve completed it, it tells you whether or not what you’re feeling or what you are experiencing is something you yourself can manage or whether you need to reach out for help and support from somebody who is an expert in the area,” says Julie.
“The PANDA helpline is also there so call 1300 726 306 and speak to one of our wonderful phone councillors who are able to support you with your journey.”
PANDA Week is 10 – 16 November 2019.