Support for parents with postnatal depression

If you or your partner is experiencing postnatal depression, help and support is out there. We look at a range of options that can assist.

One in seven women experience postnatal depression (PND) in the early months, up to a year after giving birth. We also know that partners can develop postnatal depression, and that the risk is increased if the mother has PND.

Getting help and support is important, but the type of help you might need depends on a number of factors, including:

  • How severe your symptoms are and how long you’ve had them for.
  • Whether you have experienced depression in the past.
  • The types of treatments that may have been helpful to you in the past.

For some parents, treatment may include medication, while for others talking therapies and/or support groups can play an important role. 

How can I get help?

There are a number of different ways you can access help and support for postnatal depression, and the earlier you seek help the better. 

If you are finding it hard to cope, talk to your GP. If your symptoms are affecting your ability to function day to day, they may recommend medication. There are different types of antidepressant medication that can help which are generally safe and effective even if you are breastfeeding.

Other treatments that can help include talking therapies, which help you to understand how your thoughts, feelings and behaviours can impact on depression. Importantly, talk therapy provides you with strategies to manage negative thoughts.

Often these treatments are used in combination and both may be accessed under Medicare.
baby holding hand

How can a support group help me?

Support groups can also be helpful. You can meet other parents who may be going through something similar and share your experiences in a secure setting.

Attending support groups can help assure you that conditions like postnatal depression affect many new parents, and that you are not alone. By sharing your thoughts, feelings and experiences with people who have been there, you have the chance to be heard and supported, and often you can learn from the experiences of others. 

Where can I find a support group in my area?

There are many support groups and support services across Australia, although the nature of these groups may differ. 

Talk with your Maternal and Child Health nurse or GP, who can suggest some local support groups in your area.

In addition to local support groups there is the PANDA National Perinatal Depression Helpline (1300 726 306). Many of PANDA’s volunteers have experienced postnatal depression themselves, and are able to listen, talk with you and offer helpful advice.

For more information about postnatal depression, effective treatments and where to get help and support visit www.cope.org.au

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