Support for mental health issues
Sally Bunkham outlines the various support services provided by the PANDAS Foundation for families experiencing mental health issues both pre- and postnatally
The PANDAS Foundation is a UK-wide charity for families suffering prenatal/antenatal and postnatal mental health issues. The charity supports many parents, carers and their networks with support from free services, which are run by fully trained PANDAS volunteers (most of whom have themselves experienced a perinatal mental health issue, used the charity's services and recovered with support and advice). PANDAS supports parents from conception through to birth and beyond.
The charity's aim is to listen, understand, empathise, advise and signpost where appropriate. As the leading perinatal mental health charity operating in England, Scotland and Wales, with no waiting list and no cost to the service user, PANDAS is very much in demand. The services provided are crucial in bridging the gap while the NHS is under extreme pressure, with long waiting lists for treatments for mental health issues (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2022).
In 2022, PANDAS (2022) supported more than 10 000 parents and carers in need. Demand for our services is now 70% higher than pre-pandemic levels (PANDAS, 2022). There are many reasons for this sharp increase, which were highlighted in the charity's recent work investigating NHS waiting times for parents and carers in their networks (PANDAS, 2022).
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