Shirley’s mental health blog – June 2021

Read here for Shirley’s mental health bog – this month focusing on Fathers’ mental health

Here’s your reminder!

This year’s Father’s day is on Sunday June 20th, and I am truly thankful that I still have my Dad with us, especially after this past year.

Every year, the day after Fathers’ Day globally, there is an International Fathers’ Mental Health Day (IFMHD). The event was founded in June 2016 by Mark Williams (UK) and Dr Daniel Singley (USA). Since then, it has grown into a multi-national event, raising awareness about fathers’ mental health.

On the 21st June there will be a series of blogs, stories, information and resources that are shared by charities, support groups, health professionals, and families who have experienced the impact of poor mental health in fathers. The aim is to raise awareness, and change attitudes about postnatal mental health difficulties in new fathers.

Most of us—men and women alike—are socialised to think of men as providers of support to women after the birth of a child, and early parenthood. However research shows that 10% of new dads experience paternal postpartum depression (50% when mom is depressed!) and tend to need support of their own. Unfortunately, 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. If men feel none of those things as new fathers, they might not want to admit it or seek help. The impact of mental illness for men can be catastrophic and the biggest killer of men under 45 is suicide. The main factor in suicide is poor mental health. So men are more likely to take their own lives, if they do talk about their mental health problems.

Dr Mayers, one of the founders of IFMHD says “The causes of mental health problems, such as postnatal depression, are every bit as relevant for dads as they are for mums. Often, the perception is that postnatal depression is hormonal, so could not possibly affect fathers. But hormones only play a small part. Environmental and social factors, such as social support, poverty, relationship changes, education, and stigma, are a much better predictor. These equally apply to dads.”
– Something to think about, if you have a friend or relative that has recently become a dad!!

The singer Ollie Wade is releasing a new song ‘Hero’ for International Fathers Mental Health Day. He wrote this song when he saw how his own father was struggling with poor mental health. Ollie says “I want ‘Hero’ to encourage us all to reach out to our Fathers and offer them support and a shoulder – should they need it.

If you’d like to listen to the song, this here’s the link. 

Remember, mental health issues are not a weakness, but an illness that can be managed – at whatever age.”

If you would like to get involved with IFMHD here are some links you may find useful:

IFMHD Website (Postpartum Support International)
Twitter: @dadsMHDay
Facebook: @dadsMHDay
Hashtags: #DadsMHDay #HowAreYouDad

‘Shock’

I was also quite shocked to find out this week that men are twice as likely to die from COVID as women, and that 1 man in 5 dies before the age of 65. So also on the 14th -20th June they are running a Men’s Mental Health Week.  Here’s the link: www.menshealthforum.org.uk

They not only discuss ways to improve the health of men, but also discuss important topics such as ending male violence. This recognises and acknowledges that men can also experience, and live in fear of violence.

If you want to share your stories of your own particular experience of mental health and what has helped you, it would be great to hear from you, or if you would like to contribute to the blog you can reply directly or e-mail me at shirley.allmark@achievetogether.co.uk

In the meantime enjoy the outdoors and the sunshine and stay safe. And to all you dads out there:


Shirl

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