Understanding Paternal Mental Health

Funded by the Scottish Government, our Understanding Paternal Mental Health training works towards the following outcomes:

  • An increased understanding by practitioners working within perinatal services including NHS, Third Sector and Local Authority support staff of fathers’ mental health, and the impact this has on children and families.
  • All dads being asked about their mental health.
  • More mums and dads becoming aware of the importance of their mental health including postnatal paternal depression anxiety and stress & post-traumatic stress disorder in men.
  • More staff knowing where dads can access support.
  • More dads accessing mental health support.

Our partner Fathers Reaching Out will be delivering this project with our Programme Lead Chris Miezitis, who can be reached at: 



We all want Scotland to be the best place for children to grow up. But while the evidence tells us just how important the role of a dad is to the life chances of any child, we now know that at least one in ten new dads suffer from post-natal depression, with up to 45% of dads affected by post-natal stress and anxiety.

If a dad’s mental health is not recognised and supported during the perinatal period, then his ability to engage supportively both as a father and as a partner may be at risk, limiting positive outcomes for his child, partner and family.

In this blog, FNS hears from dads who have suffered postnatal depression - and turns the spotlight on a relatively common condition that still carries a stigma.

Fathers Network Scotland and the Fatherhood Institute surveyed almost 2,000 new fathers from across the UK including 564 in Scotland. Although almost all of the new fathers were present in maternity services at each stage, our research shows that large numbers felt ignored before, during, and after the birth of their child, even though their involvement is central to infant and maternal well-being and is desired by mothers. The 'How Are You Dad?' training encourages and supports perinatal practitioners to better engage with dads.

What to Expect

In this free half day workshop we will explore:

  • Signs and symptoms: Fathers and paternal depression, post-natal anxiety, stress and PTSD
  • The incidence and impact on families and children
  • The importance of early assessment of paternal mental health
  • Services that support dads with mental health problems
  • How we can mainstream ‘dad-inclusive’ practice

Our Partner: Fathers Reaching Out

“We need to think family when it comes to perinatal mental health - if dad is struggling and not supported it will impact on the whole family,” says campaigner and our programme partner Mark Williams. He set up Fathers Reaching Out in 2016, 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. The massive life change of becoming a new parent affects dads and mums equally. Many other environmental and social factors, such as: lack of sleep; social isolation; loss of routine; return to work; financial challenges; relationships changes and life changing expectations and responsibilities are a much better predictor.

To find out more about our How Are You Dad? training, our Programme Lead Chris Miezitis can be reached at: