International Fathers’ Mental Health Day – Monday 17th June 2019
This year sees the 4th celebration of International Fathers’ Mental Health Day. The idea was originated by Mark Williams and co-founded by Dr Daniel Singley (USA) in 2017, and has seen the interest expand exponentially across the globe.
Why is this Day important and why does it need your support?
For many years women suffered from anxiety and depression prior to and following the birth of their baby. Postnatal depression remained largely unnoticed and mothers were often told to just “just get on with it” despite the challenges this presented to the mother, her infant and partner. Today we are acutely aware of the importance of recognising mothers who may be feeling stressed or have low mood, because of the impact his has on their infant and relationships.
However, changes in society and within the average family unit, have meant there are now single fathers, same sex fathers, stay at home fathers with shared parenting, as well as those who are in stable relationships but have outside influences which affect their mental health. The diversity of situations means that society has to take the concerns of fathers seriously. Fathers are just as prone to suffer from mental illness in the perinatal period, as mothers. They can have attachment issues with their offspring and relationship difficulties with their partners. It is important that these factors are recognised, not only for the sake of the father, but for the sake of the family and ultimately society.
The purpose of International Fathers’ Mental Health Day is to bring people together to discuss, divulge, determine and debate the issues and difficulties that fathers may encounter worldwide. It is designed to understand that some fathers require significant support and to establish if that help is available. It explores the mental health programmes that have proved to be successful and how these may be disseminated. The reasons for and the impact of poor mental health in fathers is at the forefront of the debate. It provides a platform for health and social practitioners and third sector organisations to work collaboratively to deliver the best possible care.
The ways in which poor mental health in fathers is demonstrated, is different from that of mothers, primarily because stigma and shame often play a pivotal part. The stereotypical macho-man verses the ‘new’ man, present the scenario of ‘Man Up or Man Down’. Research is emerging to understand the ways in which fathers’ mental health impacts on relationships and the development of his infant.
What can be done about it?
Recognition is the key and training is necessary to be able to understand and apply the current evidence based research. Both Mark and Jane have a wealth of experience in understanding fathers’ mental health and have been actively promoting ways in which health and social practitioners can acknowledge the difficulties fathers may encounter and ways in which they can help.
There are many courses, but Mark and Jane’s eLearning programme Man Up or Man Down? is the only one that is accredited with CPD. Working as a team they also offer the courses in Fathers’ Mental Health and Listening Visits for Fathers, which have been rated as ‘excellent’. Their new book Man Up or Man Down? is due to be published in the autumn.
If you would like to know more then please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org