It's OK not to be OK: new and expectant dads encouraged to reach out for support

New and expectant dads who are struggling with their mental health are being encouraged to reach out for support from their midwife, health visitor or GP.

To mark Father’s Day on Sunday 21st, and International Fathers’ Mental Health Day on Monday 22nd June, staff from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Perinatal Mental Health Service want more new dads to know that it’s ok not to be ok.

BCUHB's Perinatal Mental Health Service provides a range of specialist support for new and expectant parents as well as education and training for the health visitors, midwives and GPs that they come into contact with.

The number of men who become depressed in the first year after becoming a father is double that of the general population, with first time dads particularly vulnerable.

One in ten dads-to-be will also become depressed during their partner’s pregnancy.

Kelly Arnold, Interim Perinatal Mental Health Team Lead at BCUHB, said: “People rarely talk about men’s mental health in relation to becoming a parent and the stigma surrounding mental health problems in early parenthood is even higher for men than it is for women. We also know that men generally find it harder to seek support for emotional problems.

“There are lots of signs that dads may be struggling. They may be feeling anxious, low, detached, or isolated. They may also be experiencing fear, confusion, helplessness or uncertainty about the future.

“We want new and expectant dads to know that maternity and health visiting services are there for both parents, and that if they have seen a change in their mental health, or they are experiencing difficulties bonding with their baby, they should talk to their partner, health visitor or GP so they can be signposted to further support.

“Our Perinatal Mental Health Service team work closely with the national perinatal network in Wales and we are always looking at ways to improve the support available to new dads.”

For further information please visit the Mind website: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/postnatal-depression-and-perinatal-mental-health/partners/