Every November, Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Awareness (PANDA) hosts an awareness week to increase understanding of this very serious illness in the community. The stats are alarming: one in five new and expecting mums experience perinatal anxiety and one in ten expecting or new dads. PANDA operates Australia’s only National Helpline for individuals and their families to recover from perinatal anxiety and depression, so it’s incredibly important that those most affected are able to access this potentially lifesaving service.
Through PANDA’s Community Education Program, trained volunteers share their personal stories and run educational activities to raise awareness. As a PANDA Community Education volunteer for the past four years – and a sufferer of PND myself – I saw this as an ideal opportunity to give back to a cause that is very close to my heart. With the help of close friend Luana Takle, an afternoon tea fundraiser was organised at Porgie & Mr Jones in Hawthorn. Friends, family and those who know someone affected by perinatal anxiety and depression were invited to come along and enjoy canapes and drinks while raising money for PANDA.
This year’s theme for PANDA’s awareness week was Let’s Get Real. An initiative to encourage conversations about some of the less talked about experiences of perinatal mental illness. We want expecting and new parents who are struggling with their mental health to feel comfortable in opening up about what they’re dealing with. In my speech I touched on my own experience of PND, how common the illness really is and the fact that recovery is possible. We need to encourage more dialogue and eliminate the stigma associated with PND – and we can only do that with awareness. Our live auction was heaps of fun! We were joined by special guest and diversity activist Della Katessen, a Melbourne drag queen who I met in May of last year at the St Kilda Mums mother’s day lunch. Della was glamourous, hilarious and engaging and assisted me with the live auction and raffle. I believe in diversity, acceptance and inclusion at my events and Della showcased all of this.
Aside from being a great opportunity to chat and spread awareness about PANDA, the event helped to raise $4K.
Without these funds, PANDA would simply not be able to do the important work that it does and families across Australia struggling with perinatal anxiety and depression would not have access to the information, resources and services to get them through.
With thanks to our sponsors:
OnStone, Bypop cookies, Aesop, Crown Metropol, Decjuba, Husk, Peninsula Hot Springs, Planet E & E, Peter E Smyth Photography, Cosmetic Acupuncture Melbourne, Acorn Window Cleaning, Organic Angels, Marshall White Real Estate, Chill Project Duo, Silky tots, No Added
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