Perinatal Depression & Anxiety (PNDA) Awareness Week was established in order to increase awareness and reduce stigma. Since 2005, it's been used to highlight the need for mental health support for expecting and new parents, including what to look out for and where to go to seek support.

What is perinatal depression and anxiety?

Perinatal depression and anxiety affect almost 100,000 expectant and new parents in Australia each year (Gidget Foundation). Perinatal depression and anxiety can include mood disturbances and overwhelming worries and fears that occur for more than two weeks.

Symptoms can include:

  • Depressed mood

  • Insomnia

  • Excessive sleep

  • Fatigue

  • Having trouble concentrating

  • Feeling worthless

  • Thoughts of suicide, death or self-harm

  • Appetite changes

  • Crying for no apparent reason

Treatment and support

Due to the significant stigma surrounding mental health, many people may not seek the help that they need. But early intervention is helpful for recovery and it's encouraged to start help-seeking as soon as possible. Asking your GP to recommend health professionals or resources is a good place to start. Some professionals include:

  • Mental health social worker

  • Psychologist or counsellor

  • Psychiatrist

  • Specialist support groups

Risk factors

Everyone is vulnerable to mental illness, with 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men in Australia experiencing some form of perinatal depression and anxiety (Gidget Foundation). But there are certain vulnerabilities that may make parents more inclined to suffer from it, including:

  • Past or current trauma or abuse

  • Past or current personal or family history of mental health problems

  • Previous perinatal/pregnancy loss or conception difficulties

  • Unresolved losses or abuse from childhood

If you feel you need support, it's important to reach out to a trusted family member or friend, or health professional. Sonder can also help you 24/7 with any questions or advice you may need.

Related reading:

If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime, in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Information sourced from: Gidget Foundation and PANDA.

Image credit: kevin liang on Unsplash

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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