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CSU student promotes PANDA Day in Port Macquarie


Friday, 9 Nov 2018

* 2018 PANDA Day promotes awareness of antenatal and perinatal mental health

* Organisations offer a range of support options for mothers and fathers

* It’s OK to not be OK, and to seek support and guidance

A Charles Sturt University (CSU) student is an advocate for greater awareness about and support for women and men experiencing mental health conditions arising from pregnancy.

Mr Daniel Pye (pictured), a social work student in the CSU School of Humanities and Social Sciences in Port Macquarie, has a special interest in perinatal and infant mental health and is involved in the 2018 Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week (11-17 November) and the PANDA Day on Tuesday 13 November in Port Macquarie.

“As a mature-age student and a father of five children, this issue is close to my heart,” Mr Pye said.

“Perinatal anxiety and depression is more serious and common than many people realise.

“I feel strongly that during pregnancy and after, there is a lack of educational supports for men, and new fathers can be impacted by stigmas and stereotypes. Mental health concerns can arise that affect everyone in the family.”

He said the PANDA Day promotional activities will be located on the Town Green in Port Macquarie from 9.30am to 12pm to offer information and contact details about a range of support services.

“There are many avenues for support available to people who might be anxious, depressed or struggling to cope,” Mr Pye said.

“Early childhood nurses and other areas of the Local Health District will be present, and we will have educational materials from organisations such Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA), the Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE), and the Gidget Foundation.

“We have information on face-to-face support that are available, as well as ‘tele’ supports, including men’s services that can be accessed through phone or skype services, such as SMS4Dads and Fathers Group Inc.”

The PANDA Day will feature guest speakers, and several other non-government and health organizations will attend the event to promote healthy living, raise awareness, and provide advice about support options within the antenatal/perinatal period.

Mr Pye’s work experience placement with the Mid North Coast Local Health District has been under the supervision of Ms Louise Finnegan who is Mid North Coast perinatal and infant mental health consultant and clinician.

“My placement has focussed on men’s mental health issues where men are either ill or they are supporting a partner in the antenatal / perinatal periods, with the main focus being postnatal depressive illnesses,” Mr Pye said.

“Becoming a parent is a huge transition in life, so if mothers and fathers feel they are struggling, I urge them to seek help and support, so they can support each other at this important time.

“Men need to understand the signs of depression that their partner may be displaying, and it is just as important for men to look for the signs within themselves.

“It’s OK to not be OK. Seek support, seek guidance about being a supportive partner and father.”

Media contact: Bruce Andrews, 0418 669 362

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with CSU social work student Mr Daniel Pye.

The Mid North Coast Local Health District PANDA Day on Tuesday 13 November will be on the Town Green in Port Macquarie from 9.30am to 12pm.

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