June 19th, 2017 International Fathers’ Mental Health Day

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While considerable media and popular attention is devoted to maternal mental health issues, there has been less focus on the experiences of dads.

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.

Although most of us—men and women alike—are socialized to think of men as providers of support during the perinatal period and early parenthood, a wealth of research shows that 10% of new dads experience paternal postpartum depression (50% when mom is depressed!) and tend to need support of their own. However, the stigma against experiencing difficulties in early parenthood is even higher for men than for women. Society views men as stoic, self-sacrificing, and above all, strong. When men feel none of those things as new fathers, they don’t want to admit it or seek help.

For this reason, Postpartum Support International is an enthusiastic supporter of IFMHD as a means to take a whole-family, father-inclusive approach by shedding light on the best practices and related resources for dads, their partners, and those who support them.

Founded by paternal postpartum depression survivor Mark Williams and fatherhood mental health expert and PSI board member Dr. Daniel Singley, IFMHD involves taking the day after Father’s Day—June 19th, 2017 this year—to launch a focused social media campaign which highlights key aspects of fathers’ mental health.

We need everyone to launch a blog or story around fathers meental health for the day. Please share it around your social media platforms and on twittter using #IFMHD and @MarkWilliamsFMH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accredited Training is available with Mark and Dr Jane Hanley

who are specialists in Paternal Mental Health!

 

 

Paternal Depression during the Perinatal Period

 

  • Are you aware of Paternal Depression?

  • Do you understand the condition & consequences?

  • Do you require training in Paternal Depression?

 

Dr Jane Hanley is the author of ‘Perinatal Mental Health’ and ‘Listening Visits’ the former President of the International Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental health and has been involved with promoting perinatal mental health for over 30 years

Mark Williams is an internationally invited speaker and a worldwide advocate for men suffering from Paternal Mental Illness.  Mark has published several published works on paternal depression

Their one and two day courses are some of the VERY FEW ACCREDITED COURSES which explore and examine paternal mental health in depth. They are suitable for health professionals and those who work with fathers and their families

                                     

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 Photo of Daddy reading to son

 

Mark says “I’ve spoken to fathers with bipolar, schizophrenia, clinical depression, anxiety and other mental health illness who have no support plan in place at this crucial time. Fathers Suffer from Anxiety, Postnatal Depression and Trauma at childbirth too. Research says 1 in 10 fathers are (PND)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Please will you sign and share my petition for Fathers to be mentioned on Nice Guildlines. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/133325 

 

World Maternal Mental Health Day – 4th May

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Organisations from around the world are leading efforts to raise awareness about maternal mental health through a collective social media push and in-country events. Mark Williams, from Ogmore Vale, Bridgend, Wales will be leading the global work for Dads’ Mental Health. Mark’s is one of the few organisations to tackle the importance of fathers’ mental health and will be part of the push to increase awareness to millions of fathers and families.

Perinatal depression and anxiety are significant mental and public health problems with well-documented consequences for mothers, children , fathers and families withthe illnessesaffecting millions of families across the world. Mark also campaignsfor more mother and baby units and is leading the way for fathers. He had depression himself in 2004 and after a complete breakdown, set up Fathers Reaching Out and Dads Matter UK. He has spoken hundreds of fathers over the last five years and has found that many turn to drink and/or drugs which can lead to anger and sometimes violence if help is not put in place. Mark also found that families are breaking up and bonding between the child and father can be severely affected if the father is depressed and unsupported. 

Mark’s organisation, www.reachingoutpmh.co.uk is a  member of the initiative's Task Force, which includes organisations from the UK, US, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Argentina, Malta, New Zealand, Spain, Germany and South Africa.

This Wednesday, 4th May, you can follow the first ever global #WorldMMHDay on Twitter with the hashtag #MaternalMHmatters  

More details here: http://maternalmentalhealthalliance.org/news/     &      World Maternal Mental Health Day

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Maternal Mental Health Day 2016

The first Maternal Mental Health Day takes place on the 4th May 2016 when people from around the world will connect to discuss the challenges and possible solutions to this important topic relating to mothers. We must also remember that fathers are usuallly the main source of support for the mother and family at this time .
 
So why do I stress the importance of supporting fathers too?Mark & Michelle on Good Morning Britain

1. Research shows that at least 1 in 10 fathers suffer from Postnatal Depression (PND). I feel this is more likely to be more as men tend to leave it until crisis point years later

2. Fathers can experience antenatal anxiety and depression too.

3. Fathers tend to be diagnosed with clinical depression after the perinatal period. Dads should have the EPDS screening tool too.

4. The rate of sucide among men aged 30 to 44 years increases around of time of becoming a father. 

5. Men are not mentioned in the NICE guidelines (relating to the perinatal period) and often fall through the early prevention services net.

6. Fathers often suffer in silence and can use negative coping methods such as alcohol and drugs which can lead to anger and violence.

7. Around 2 in 3 fathers who should have received support are no longer together in the family unit (source: Fathers Reaching Out)

8. Fathers are the main source of support for the mother and children at this time and often feel the pressure of failing to live up to expectations.

9. Fathers can suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) when they witness their loved one going through a difficult birth and experience feelings of hopelessness.

10. If only the father experiences mental illness, this puts a strain on the mother’s mental health and can lead to both partners becoming unwell. 

11. A father who is unwell is more less likely to bond with his children. 

12. Fathers with a history of mental illness are more likely to become unwell again due to the stress of becoming a father and looking after a partner with a perinatal mental illness. 

13. Fathers who has conditions as ADHD, Asperger's and Autism  will struggle more in the labour room with their partners.( Source Own experience and Reaching Out PMH ) 

14. Fathers who suffer from anxiety in the workplace should be supported during this time. Those I have spoken to felt that more pressure to work longer to support the family had a big effect on their mental health.( Source Fathers Reaching Out 2012) 

15. I have an entire book of fathers' and mothers' personal stories with reasons why support should be in place for both parents.

In my new book Fathers and Perinatal Mental Health which I am co-writing with PMH specialist Dr Jane Hanley, I explain that over a thousand fathers have told me one thing: "Nobody ever asked me how I was feeling" and "I couldn't tell anyone as I had to be the rock for my family".

It can take years for negative experiences to manifest themselves so by giving fathers an opportunity to discuss their feelings and offering support when required, this preventative approach will enable more families to enjoy the miracle of childbirth and go on to live happier and healthier lives.

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Meeting with Luciana Berger, Labour's Shadow Minister for Mental Health

 

Luciana Berger

I recently met Luciana Berger, Labour's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, to explain that fathers can also suffer with mental ill health and how this impacts on the family. Luciana was appointed to the role in September 2015 and has already been in great demand, so I was delighted to have the opportunity of discussing the importance of providing support for fathers with her.

I also spoke about the importance of support and funding in other areas of maternal mental health including the reopening of a mother and baby unit for Wales following its closure in 2013. The meeting was a big step forward in my campaign to raise awareness of men's mental health and I would like to thank my Local MP, Huw Irranca-Davies, for introducing my colleague, Dr Jane Hanley and me.

We discussed the following:

1. Prevention and perinatal services for dads
2. Mother and baby units, we need more and not less. (There is not one in Wales or Northern Ireland).
3. The need for research into Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in fathers resulting from witnessing difficult births.
4. Fathers need to be included in the NICE guidelines relating to perinatal services.
5. Fathers' mental health in general. (Dads with ADHD, Bipolar, Clinical Depression, Schizophrenia and other Mental Health concerns).

After the meeting, I feel confident that the Labour Party understands the need for greater early prevention services within mental health and with Luciana in her new role, I can see the support for mental health growing in the future.

We are changing people's attitudes towards mental health for the benefit of our, and future generations and for millions of people who suffer each year in the United Kingdom.

Let's keep campaigning, educating and most importantly, making sure that our voices are being heard in Westminster.

You can read more about Luciana's work here http://www.lucianaberger.com/

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Improving Men's Mental Health in Wales Conference

 15th June 2016

Sony Theatre, Bridgend College

Mark speaking at confce

I'm delighted to have been involved in establishing the first ever Improving Men's Mental Health in Wales Conference. It has been a long term aim to bring this event to my home area and now, with the help of Ian Baum and his superb team at Bridgend College, it's become a reality.

By coming together in this way to discuss men's mental health, we aim to help break down the barriers that stop men seeking the support they need to aid their recovery. Everyone is welcome, including women working in related fields and those wishing to offer support to someone close to them.

 

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I'll be speaking along with Only Men Aloud’s Tim Rhys-Evans MBE who has revealed his long struggle with mental illness which led to him being hospitalised three years ago. Tim reached one of his lowest ebbs in the very same year he received an MBE from The Queen and his hit choral group signed a major record deal. "Suicide is also the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 years in England and Wales, yet mental illness remains very much a taboo subject. There’s still a massive stigma around this disease, and I’m sharing some of the darkest episodes in my life in the hope that it might help others.”

 

Photo of Gareth Thomas

 

 

Retired Welsh professional rugby player Gareth “Alfie” Thomas whose fights with depression whilst coming to terms with his sexuality are well documented will also be speaking. He came out as gay in December 2009 and the following year was voted the most influential gay person in the UK in the IoS Pink List and received Stonewall’s Hero of the Year award. 

  

Tom Morgan photo

 

Also in the line up is rugby player Tom Morgan who was diagnosed with Tourettes at the age of 15, then with Aspergers, ADHD, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia at the age of 21. He plays for South Wales Scorpions RLFC and now appears regularly on television to raise awareness of his conditions and how they have affected his progress in the world of sport.

Tom has also played for Bridgend, Swansea and Neath and is now a sports ambassador for the National Autistic Society and Founder of his new Charity which will be announced on the day.

 

Other speakers include:

Mark Smith - Founder of Making Minds which is a community organisation based in Wales that promotes and explores the role of art and creativity in mental health.

Dr Phil Cooper - Co-founder of State of Mind which aims to improve the mental health, wellbeing and working life of rugby league and union players and communities.

Antony Metcalfe of Time to Change Wales which is the first all Wales campaign that aims to eradicate the stigma and discrimination against people with experience of mental distress. It is delivered in partnership with Mind, Gofal and Hafal and operates across Wales.

Colin Dolan - Founder of Mental Health Football UK: Colin was awarded the Torch Trophy and has inspired people around the UK about his own story. Mental Health Football UK is growing each year and using football as a way to help others with mental illness.

Andrew Hall is a trainer with the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, a charity set up in memory of Charlie Waller, who tragically took his own life after a battle with depression. A qualified youth worker and teacher with personal experience of depression and anxiety, Andrew delivers bespoke training for schools and youth organisations focusing on all aspects of adolescent mental health. 

To find out more about this groundbreaking conference together with booking details, please click here.

Hope to see you there... 

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