Help at hand: PANDA CEO Belinda Horton says people should reach out if they have concerns about postnatal depression.
Help at hand: PANDA CEO Belinda Horton says people should reach out if they have concerns about postnatal depression. Submitted

Hotline launched for new parents

IT’S the silent epidemic sweeping the nation but help is at hand for those hit hard on the Coffs Coast.

As many as 77,000 Australians suffer from postnatal depression which affects one in seven new mothers and one in 10 new fathers.

But a new hotline has been launched to help people in our region who are suffering from the condition.

The Post and Antenatal Depression Association (PANDA) has initiated the helpline – 1300 726 306 – to offer support and advice to locals.

“It is critical women and men realise people can not just snap out of postnatal depression any more than they could snap out of diabetes,” said PANDA CEO Belinda Horton.

“It is vital to start talking to somebody if you have issues and if they are not listening, find somebody else.

“Postnatal depression, if not treated, can take a heavy toll on the new mother and father and can dramatically damage family relationships.”

Ms Horton said she was alarmed a large number of women and men suffered in silence and were not getting help.

“We want to highlight studies clearly show maternal and paternal depression is linked.

“Postnatal depression can happen to anyone. Society expects people to cope and expects people to think that everything surrounding a new baby should be joyous from start to finish.

“Of course any new baby brings huge joy. Nevertheless it’s a huge change for any parent. Sometimes anxiety quickly turns to depression.” PANDA says it is vital people trust their instincts and that if you are concerned about your partner’s well-being in any way, contact your doctor or local support services.

Unusual thoughts/speech patterns, behaviour out of character or talk of self harm or harm to the baby are clear signals postnatal depression may be present.

PANDA has been providing counselling, support and information to women, men and their families for more than 25 years.

For more details, visit www.panda.org.au.



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