17 June 2020
New study published ahead of International Fathers' Mental Health Day on the reflections and learning from the New Dad Study
Working with fathers: Reflections and learning from the New Dad Study
In recent years, there has been an increased policy emphasis for health visitors to work more closely with fathers; however, research studies continue to highlight a lack of adequate engagement with fathers by health professionals during the perinatal period. This article explores some of the issues relating to engagement with fathers in practice and research, reflecting on the New Dad Study (NEST) and sharing some of my learnings.
Working with fathers does not require health professionals to have a special or unique set of skills. Instead health professionals just need to have good communication skills, in order to interact with fathers effectively. To support fathers, health professionals need to ask direct questions about fathers’ mental health and wellbeing as they do with mothers. If we want fathers to be engaged with health services, health professionals and child health research, we need to include them in the planning stages, listen to their needs and ensure that their views are reflected. If we want fathers to participate, we need to consider how best to offer and sustain the opportunity.
**The full article can be accessed here: https://doi.org/10.12968/johv.2020.8.6.254
**Baldwin, S. (2020) Working with fathers: Reflections and learning from the New Dad Study. Journal of Health Visiting, 8(6): 254–258.
International Fathers’ Mental Health Day (IFMHD) is an annual global event first launched in 2016 which gives voice to issues unique to men as they transition to fatherhood—their strengths, difficulties, and needs. This year it falls on 22nd June 2020. To find out more about IFMHD, visit: https://www.reachingoutpmh.co.uk/hello-world/