There has been an increasing emergence lately of social enterprises and charities campaigning for men to speak up and ask for help with mental health issues and for good reason: suicide is the biggest killer of young men.
This positive growing awareness brings up another contested issue – are we giving fathers enough support? From reading WAVE Trust’s Conception to age 2 report we know these stages are crucial years for a child’s development. This is a profound period in which we can shape children’s lives and ultimately the world around them.
We also know that pregnancy is a particularly important period for the well-being of mother and baby. Maternal stress, diet and drug misuse can have a lifelong impact on any child. Carefully looking after them is all too important. So – what effect can dad’s mental health have on this crucial period?
A report from Learning lessons from serious case reviews shows one of the biggest problems with the mishandling of significant child maltreatment cases was marginalising the role of the father and missing the parents’ own needs. By failing to include men in the conversation around prevention and well-being, we are putting children at a higher risk of experiencing abuse or neglect.
Unfortunately, men often face the stigma of being labelled (or labelling themselves) ‘weak’ when discussing poor mental health. This is despite dads having to face the pressure and rapid change of bringing a new baby into the world, and often being an emotional buffer for mum too.
One father blogger, who experience the effects of post-natal depression, writes in his blog:
‘I had come back from hospital with no real help, they didn’t want to admit I had male PND, if they admitted it they would have to admit it existed in men and would have to then treat men as well as women’.
Promoting early screening and preventive support for both parents, the 70/30 campaign hopes to see more children, and families, given the opportunity to have a healthier start to life.
How many of us are aware that dads can experience post-natal depression too? Take 5 minutes today to read through the signs here and ask a another father/male in your life how they are feeling today; let us know your thoughts and experiences by following us on @7030campaign with the hashtag #7030dads.