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Why mental health support for dads (and partners) is important

What support is offered to dads and partners?

When I was pregnant and in the early days after my baby was born, people asked how I was doing and checked on my wellbeing. But hardly anyone did the same for my husband who was also having a life changing experience. In fact, in our formal maternity and postnatal care, his wellbeing was barely noticed.

Why support for dads’ and partners’ mental health and wellbeing is important

Some people might argue that parents who are giving birth are faced with more challenges and need more support. I’m not arguing with that.

AND I think it’s for dads and partners to be offered more support before and after their baby is born. This is because:

● A significant number of dads experience mental health problems around the time their baby is born. More than 1 in 10 dads experienced depression or anxiety before or after their baby was born. Partners can also be affected by trauma as a result of their experiences on their journey to parenthood (including witnessing their partner’s traumatic experience).

● Early parenting is a time when there are a lot of changes and things to learn (especially with a first baby). And some dads can feel like a failure if they’re unable to help or don’t feel able to get involved in their baby’s care. This can impact their wellbeing and confidence.

● Dads and partners are better able to support their partners when they are well.

● And dads and partners are important too and becoming a parent is also an important life event for them.

What makes it hard for dads and partners to talk about their feelings or seek help

The expectations that dads place on themselves or that other people place on them can make it hard for dads to talk about how they are feeling.

One study found that men also tended to downplay their own experience and compare themselves to their partner who they felt had it worse. Many of these men were feeling stressed, like they never had time to relax and distressed by how their relationship had changed since their baby arrived.

I’ll admit that I felt these things too as a mom and that I didn’t always have empathy for my partner in my most exhausted moments. But that’s not to say that his and other partners’ feelings aren’t valid or that they are not deserving of support. It is a big change to have a baby for all parents.

On top of all of this, some dads and partners may find it hard to talk about how they’re feeling. But if you’re not feeling yourself, it can be important for you to speak to someone and get some support as a new parent.

The support available for dads and partners

It may help to speak with your partner – keeping in mind that they may also be struggling. But it can be important for them to know how you’re feeling and that you might need some support.

You could also open up to trusted family or friends. Ideally, these would be people who you know won’t judge you and who will be supportive and understanding.

Speaking to other parents might also help. Other new parents may be having similar experiences and this can help you feel less alone. In some areas, there are support groups for new dads or men’s groups like Andy’s Man’s Club which may be something you want to look into.

You can also support yourself by thinking about your needs and making time for some self care. You may get some ideas from this post on self care.

When you need more support

Sometimes, you may need additional support. You may want to contact a health professional if you’re not feeling better, you start to feel worse or what you’re feeling is very intense. Especially if you are feeling low, worried, on edge, numb, distressed, unable to cope, having nightmares, having upsetting thoughts, seeing distressing images or having any other experiences that don’t feel right for you.

Ideally health professionals would let dads and partners know about the support that is available in their area. And the starting place is speaking to your doctor.

Support services may also be available in your local area or online. PANDAS offers mental health support to all parents during pregnancy and postnatally. Bliss supports parents whose babies are sick or born prematurely. Sands offers support to parents (including dads) whose baby is stillborn or who has died shortly after birth.

You may also think about speaking to a counsellor or therapist to talk about your feelings and experiences.

How I can support you

A transformational coach may also be able to help you change how you are thinking about a situation, build up your confidence, learn to ask for help or show yourself compassion. And working on these things can help improve your wellbeing. More information about how I can support you through transformational coaching is available here. Or you can email me at or book a free 15 minute exploratory call to learn more.

If you have had a distressing or traumatic experience, TBR 3 Step Rewind can help you to lift any heavy feelings you’re having and focus on feeling better. You can email me at to arrange a free 30 minute call with me to talk about whether the TBR 3 Step Rewind technique is right for you. More information about TBR 3 Step Rewind is available here.

I look forward to hearing from you if you would benefit from my support services.



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