The Scottish Government has funded us to increase the understanding by practitioners and NHS maternity staff of dads’ perinatal mental health, and the impact that it has on children, mums and families. We’ll provide training for midwives and health visitors in Fife, North Lanarkshire, Lothian, Tayside and Greater Glasgow, so that they feel confident to check in with dads during their family visits.
STV has very recently reported on our 'How Are You Dad?' pilot, through which we’re working with health visitors and midwives to recognise mental ill health in new dads.
From a survey of 564 dads in Scotland, Fathers Network Scotland discovered that only 16% of them were asked about their mental health during routine antenatal appointments. It is important that we recognise that the wellbeing of new mothers is deeply dependent on supporting the skills and capacities of their children’s father, so 'How Are You Dad?' will support the wellbeing of the whole family.
“We need to think family when it comes to perinatal metal mental and remember that if dad is the only one struggling that will impact on the whole family if unsupported,” says campaigner and our programme partner Mark Williams. He set up Fathers Reaching Out having himself developed mental health problems after his wife experienced birth trauma.
Mark spoke passionately at our most recent conference and says the causes of mental health problems, such as postnatal depression, are every bit as relevant for dads as they are for mums. Often, the perception is that postnatal depression is hormonal, so could not possibly affect fathers – but hormones only play a small part. Environmental and social factors, such as social support, poverty, relationships changes, education, and stigma, are a much better predictor. These equally apply to dads.
To find out more about our 'How Are You Dad?' training, our Programme Lead Chris Miezitis can be reached at: