Delivering the Report to Parliament

Would you like a Copy of our new report? Why?

 Fathers with perinatal mental health problems are up to 47% more likely the risk to be rated
as a suicide risk than at any other time in their lives (Quevedo et al, 2010)
 Over 39% of new fathers wanted support for their mental health (Mental Health Foundation,
2018)
 62% of dads felt that their mental health difficulties got in the way of their forming a good
connection with their children (Fathers Network Scotland, 2019)
 Fathers with good mental health help mitigate the impact of maternal mental illness, acting as
a protective factor for the children’s mental health (Khan, 2017)

#HowAreYouDad – Its simple ask Dad.

As we know fatherhood has changed in recent years, there are many more single dads and stay at home fathers than ever before. Fathers are now more actively involved in their children’s day to day lives.

For many the transition into fatherhood is a very joyful experience, however for some it can also be a very stressful time that can trigger mental health issues.

What is really alarming is that many fathers are more at risk of suicide during the perinatal period than at any other time in their life (Quevedo 2011). If fathers are not supported at this important time, it can have a massive impact on the whole family and on the development of the child.

Antenatal perinatal mental health education for dads is the way forward. Fathers need to be educated about how their mental health can be affected by becoming a dad and what they can do to get help and support for themselves and their family. Fathers also need to be educated about the signs to look out for which indicate that their partner may have perinatal mental health concerns. Supporting both mums and dads at this critical time is essential.

Unfortunately, at the moment fathers are not screened for their mental health, only mums. However, like some mothers, some fathers have a past history of trauma, anxiety and depression before they become a parent. The lack of sleep associated with looking after a new born and the transition into fatherhood can cause anxiety and depression too.

Movember in 2019 reported that one in five British fathers felt totally isolated during their first year of fatherhood. The National Childbirth Trust said in 2015 that 38 percent of dads had struggled with their mental health and 73 percent were worried about their partner’s mental health.

Fathers witnessing a traumatic birth can suffer with PTSD, an anxiety disorder that is brought on by either witnessing or experiencing a life threating event, this can vary from mild or moderate to severe.

Fathers Reaching Out – Why Dads Matter:

Looking after an infant is often a challenge for both parents. It is increasingly recognised that postnatal depression and other perinatal mental illnesses and disorders can be experienced by men as well as women. We now understand that becoming a father and experiencing fatherhood can be a stressful and isolating experience. It is quite possible that the increased
pressures of fatherhood – which mean little sleep, extra responsibilities, greater financial challenges, and changes in relationships and lifestyles – will all affect the father’s mental
health.

Research has shown that one in 10 new fathers suffer from postnatal depression, very similar to the figure for new mothers. Once education, universal assessment and screening processes are introduced, this figure will no doubt be higher – I believe that the figure for
mothers has increased now that they are being routinely assessed, and this is supported by Wisner et al’s (2013)9 finding that almost 22% of women suffer from postnatal depression during the first year postpartum – thus highlighting the need for much more to be done to
support fathers in the perinatal period.

Although it is still early days, there is already anecdotal evidence that the Covid-19 pandemic,and the resultant limitations imposed on ‘normal life’, have made paternal postnatal
depression worse. As research increases around paternal mental health, we feel that we have sufficient evidence to lead to a change in policies and protocols by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to
include fathers’ mental health. We want the WHO Commissioners to understand the importance of “Think Family”, to include and support all parents during the perinatal period.

Now is the time to ACT – Contact me for you free PDF Copy.