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.