1 in 10 men experience anxiety or depression after the birth of their baby and whilst the need for support for new mothers is well recognised, up until now very little attention has been paid to new dads.
Simon Steven’s, chief executive of NHS England, says,
At what should be one of the happiest moments of our lives, caring for a partner suffering mental ill-health when a new baby arrives is a difficult and often lonely experience.
The mental health checks have been described as a ‘radical initiative’ with NHS England arguing that those fathers providing health and support for their partners may be in need of
Simon Steven’s adds,
“Alongside the backup and friendship of other new parents in NCT and other groups, the NHS has a role to play in helping support the whole family. These days dads and partners are rightly expected to be more hands-on and NHS mental health services also need to step up and support families at times of extreme stress and anxiety,”
NHS England’s national mental health director said,
“It doesn’t just disrupt life for mums but also for dads, partners and the wider family. The NHS has made huge strides forward in improving mental health care for new mums, and ensuring their partners are properly supported too is the next logical step,”
By April 2019, specialist community health teams should be available nationwide.
The care provided will include, diagnosis of mental health problems, as well as counselling.
Dr Giles Beresford says,
“Mental illnesses are cruel and they seem doubly cruel when they affect parents making that transition into family life. The expansion of perinatal mental health services with specialised community and inpatient beds helps to ensure mums with severe perinatal mental illnesses receive the help they need, when they need it.
“It is essential to support those people who care for these mums the most: their partners. This targeted support will help to achieve this.”
It is essential to provide support for, not only new mothers suffering from anxiety, depression or PND, but also to support new fathers. Either in their role of supporting their partner or with their own mental health issues.
Many of the dads in The Dadsnet closed community, come to us for support with their own mental health struggles, alongside asking for support and advice on how best to care for their partners.
This new NHS initiative, will be welcomed by many, none less than us.