When was the last time you asked, "How are you dad?".
Our "How Are You Dad?" Scottish Government-funded pilot project allows us to train perinatal health professionals to ask new dads as well as new mums how they're feeling. Did you know that about 1 in 10 dads suffer from postnatal depression? Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45. So what else can we all do to help?
We're working with schools to encourage more father-inclusive practices, so that fathers are able to get as involved as possible in their children's school lives. We're encouraging employers to offer equal parental leave opportunities to both new mums and dads. We're promoting flexible working to allow fathers to take time to immerse themselves in family life without experiencing negativity in the workplace.
We're encouraging health and service providers to check-in with dads about their mental health.
Gender stereotypes are not useful or practical.
Mums and dads share childcare and work responsibilities. By removing assumptions about parental roles and responsibilities, we hope to create a more level playing field for men and women at home, within services and in the workplace.
We're sharing the message to father-figures across Scotland, to “Be there, be yourself”, to encourage them to celebrate their diversity, to feel supported when discussing their emotions, to feel empowered to embrace a care-giving role, and above all to find joy in the little things.
For dads, for children, for families.
Dr Roch Cantwell: How Are You Dad
While being a new parent (or getting ready for your second, third or fourth child) can be one of the greatest things, it’s also tough at times - for every mother and father. No-one escapes the exhaustion, sleep deprivation and change in family relationships and routine. Everyone struggles at times. Over the past 10 years in Scotland we’ve seen a growing interest in supporting new mothers and their infants, matched by a real commitment from government, the NHS and voluntary agencies to improve the services we offer. But where is dad in all of this?
We know that some fathers may struggle with their mental health and all fathers need, at the very least, someone to talk to about the changes they’re going through. Supporting fathers is a win, win, win – it’s good for the mother, it’s good for the infant, and it’s good for the dad himself.
This new resource is a huge step on the way to giving fathers the attention and help they need to fulfil their role as new parents. It contains a wealth of practical information to help dads understand what changes they’re going through and what help they can get. But it also has important messages for health professionals. New parents are on a life-changing journey, but services need to be on that journey too, developing their approach to ensure that fathers feel listened to, included and respected.
There is an old cliché that says men would rather starve in the desert than stop and ask for directions. If there is one message that this workbook can get across, then it should be that it’s ok to say things are a struggle, it’s ok to ask for help and it’s ok to expect that help to be there.
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