Every year, the day after Fathers’ Day, we mark International Fathers Mental Health Day to raise awareness about father’s mental health.
A lot of focus is often put on maternal mental health and sadly, too often, husbands and partners are overlooked when it comes to providing support and information on mental health.
1 in every 10 dads will experience a mental health issue in the period during pregnancy and a year after the birth of their child. The biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK is suicide – studies have shown that fathers with mental health problems during the perinatal period are up to 47 times more likely to be classed as a suicide risk than at any other time in their lives.
During the pandemic, many families have been left without their usual support networks, leaving even more fathers unable to access the support they need. Being excluded from antenatal appointments, and sometimes even from labour and birth, also has had a big impact on both mums and dads mental health over the last year.
Father’s suffering with mental health issues may struggle to care for and connect with their baby. This can potentially affect a child’s overall development as well as having a lasting and devastating impact on fathers themselves.
We all need to start talking about paternal mental health more and calling for expectant fathers to be offered perinatal mental health support so that all babies and families are given a fair start in life.
Read Dr Andy Mayers blog about last years International Fathers Mental Health Day, in which he reflects on the progress of the campaigns in urging better support for fathers and considers the impact that Covid-19 has had on the entire family.
For further help and support:
If you have been experiencing symptoms of depression it’s important to talk to your midwife, health visitor or GP.
If you’re in emotional pain or a crisis, you can receive free 24/7 confidential support via the Best Beginnings Baby Buddy Crisis Text Messenger.
You can also get help and support at MIND (www.mind.org.uk helpline 0300 123 3393 or text 86463), PANDAS (www.pandasfoundation.org.uk helpline 0843 2898401), APNI www.apni.org, helpline 0207 386 0868) or Dads Matter UK. www.dadsmatteruk.org/