E tūtaki ana ngā kapua o te rangi, kei runga, kei runga te Mangoroa e kōpae pū ana || The clouds in the sky close over, but above them spreads the milky way

Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Week 2023

1st to 7th Mei May 2023

Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Week

is the annual campaign hosted by PADA – Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Aotearoa to raise awareness and encourage advocacy to highlight the need for better perinatal mental health outcomes in Aotearoa.

Every first week in May, PADA – Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Aotearoa celebrates Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Week, with World Maternal Mental Health Day on the first Wednesday in May, this year being the 3rd May. This year marks the 12th annual Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Week.

Throughout this week we share stories and information and provide opportunities to increase understanding and help for people suffering from perinatal (anytime during pregnancy, birth or early parenting) mental health issues.

This year, we are committed to showing how we can all make a difference to improve perinatal mental health outcomes in Aotearoa, by working together to make a world of difference for people in this vulnerable time.

Our theme this year is He Toa Takitini | Stronger Together!

Did you know?

  • New Zealand has around 60,000 births a year
  • Approximately 15,000 parents of those births will experience anxiety or depression as a result
  • 40% of those experiencing postnatal distress will have experienced antenatal distress
  • That’s 7000 mums, 3000 dads and 12,000 children affected in some way

Anxiety disorders are also common and occur alone or with depression. As well as mothers and birthing parents, fathers and partners also experience mental health problems around this time.


Supporters can participate in Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Week in a variety of ways:


  • Pledge your support and upload your photo, tagging PADA, to raise awareness and eliminate the stigma – too few people come forward to admit they are struggling, it is not a weakness, we are stronger together!
  • Take a look at our Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Week Social Media Toolkit.
  • Make a meaningful impact for women and birthing parents, men and birthing partners with your gift. It’s one of the easiest and best ways to show your support. Donate today!
  • Join our social followers to help foster understanding and acceptance by sharing the stories, information and events designed to increase understanding, training, and to eliminate the stigma of perinatal mental health issues. Submit your story for our social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter, and tagging PADA!
  • Learn all the ways you can fundraise on social media, through Givealittle or The Good Registry, you CAN make a difference. Get ideas from our past Perinatal Fundraising Champions!
  • Light It Up Green from 1 – 7 May in connection with all people who have suffered or are suffering from distress while pregnant or with their new family. Join the landmarks and buildings of Aotearoa and come together to shine a light on perinatal mental health.

Whether you are a family, love someone who has a new baby, or are looking to those who struggle during this time – let’s be stronger together and pledge to make a world of difference in training and educating health care providers to support each birthing parent in this country, regardless of their whakapapa or postcode. All new parents need the very best support!


Attend our Pōneke Wellington Wānanga on 3 May – Rainbow Inclusive Perinatal Care

Transgender and non-binary parents account for about 2% of the postpartum population at present. As the social stigma associated with being transgender or non-binary decreases, this number is likely to increase with time, as more people feel safe to identify and live openly as themselves. Inclusive care providers can help reduce perinatal mental health distress for transgender and non-binary parents.

Mental health issues do not discriminate. Transgender and non-binary people already have higher rates of mental illness compared to the cisgender population due to ‘minority stress’ – the stress of living in a society that discriminates, devalues, or denies the existence of their identity. Pregnancy, birth, and postpartum can make mental health conditions worse for transgender and non-binary people, but this shouldn’t be the case.

PADA works to #eliminatethestigma of perinatal mental health issues – for all people – and champion gender affirming healthcare that is respectful and affirming of a person’s unique sense of gender and provides support to identify and facilitate gender healthcare goals.

Read the PADA resource Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Parents for healthcare professionals to support our perinatal trans and non-binary community. Ngā manaakitia ki a Lou Kelly for writing this for resource for PADA.

Come learn with us: Our Pōneke Wellington Wānanga on May 3 is themed “Rainbow Inclusive Perinatal Care.”

Register here to book your space today! For all future events, go to www.pada.nz/events

Connect with local support groups in your area

Many support groups can offer services such as coffee mornings, counselling, peer support meetings, lists of local services. They are a safe place for mums, dads or parents with perinatal anxiety or depression to connect with others, and help acknowledge their struggles.

If you have previously been supported in your own perinatal mental health journey, you may wish to connect with them to see about becoming a volunteer or helping them fundraise directly.

Go to our Support Services page to navigate to support services in your region.

Become an Advocate for perinatal mental health

By posting about ways in which you or your organisation invests in and supports Perinatal Mental Health – for men, women and all birthing parents. Use the ideas and sample text below to share!

  • Use the hashtags #hetoatakitini #strongertogether #eliminatethestigma #PerinatalMHAotearoa #maternalMHmatters #worldMMHday when posting;
  • Like posts and reshare to your stories;
  • Tag @pmhnz, @perinatalanxiety_depression_nz and @worldMMHday when sharing your events, stories, facts and research;
  • DM us information and/or graphics you would like us to reshare!



3rd May is World Maternal Mental Health Day @WMMHday 2023

Since 2016 WMMH day is commemorated on the first Wednesday of May every year – which falls on 3rd May in 2023. We unite with organisations from around the world in a worldwide effort to raise awareness about maternal mental health through a collective social media drive and in country events. More information available at the World Maternal Mental Health Day website.

Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 aims to:

  • promote awareness of antenatal and postnatal anxiety and depression
  • encourage new and expectant parents to seek help early
  • eliminate the stigma surrounding this common health issue by advocating to Government

PADA’s mahi includes:

  • Information, education and training;  professional development wānanga for health professionals and parent support groups
  • National resource and service referral database
  • Videos of real stories to share, educate and encourage
  • Website training resources including free downloadable Fact Sheets and Resources
  • We’re so excited to be getting you on board! PADA relies on our generous community in Aotearoa New Zealand to eliminate the stigma of perinatal mental health issues, so we can train our health community to better help those who are silently suffering, using screening tools and the right referral paths to take. We don’t receive any government funding, relying solely on donations and grant funding, so it’s people like you who make our mahi.