(The Postnatal Depression Support Association of South Africa) was officially
constituted in February 1997, by a small group of health professionals, and
“PND survivors”, under the leadership of Liz Mills. It is a registered non-profit association funded by donations
from the private individuals, companies and membership fees, and is staffed,
almost entirely, by volunteers. Charges
for services are calculated on a sliding scale. Some professional members of PNDSA offer their services at a
many mothers, do, in fact, experience the birth of a baby as a “happy
event”; PNDSA is concerned with the ten to thirty percent of parents, for whom
this is not true.
was founded in order:
to 30% of new mothers in South Africa (an estimated minimum of 50 000 mothers
per year) are clinically ill with depression or anxiety disorders. They are unable, through no fault of their own, to respond
adequately to their infants’ needs. Appropriate
instrumental, emotional and social responsiveness is crucial to the healthy
development of the child. Pregnancy
and the first year after birth are critical developmental periods, and if the
primary caretaker, for whatever reason, is unable to attend to and satisfy the
needs of the child, there will be long-term negative consequences.
of women receive help from PNDSA each year, via telephone and face-to-face
counseling, support groups, hospital visits, information packs and referrals to
the medical profession and other professional care-givers.
PNDSA also gives informational talks upon request, lectures and training
workshops for support volunteers and professionals.
A resource library is available for members, for research and general
purposes. Volunteers regularly
visit maternity hospitals to inform new mothers about our services. They also
give informal talks on the subject of ante- and post-natal depression and
anxiety, at childbirth education and antenatal classes, and other meetings
attended by parents of young children. Recently,
PNDSA has provided lectures to commercial companies who employ a large number of
women who are of childbearing age.
is the policy of PNDSA, not only to target the general public, but also to
collaborate with existing health and community services, including:
through Liz Mills, is a member of the Marcé Society and of Postpartum Support