In this episode we’re talking about paternal mental health, or the mental health of fathers with Mark Williams. Mark is a keynote speaker, published author, and international campaigner for fathers’ mental health. He founded International Fathers Mental Health Day and and the #HowAreYouDad Campaign to help ensure that all parents and families are supported throughout the perinatal period. You can find out more about Mark on his website markwilliamsfmh.co.uk.

Mark shines a light on this very important area as he shares his own story and how he got involved in fathers’ mental health. We learn how post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects a lot of fathers witnessing a traumatic birth, and how suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.  According to recent research from Canada 1 in 4 fathers suffer from anxiety and depression during the perinatal period, a figure that is a lot higher than the official 1 in 10.

Mark identifies antenatal education, communication on labour wards, and mental health awareness as ways the situation could be improved. As Mark observes, although men are less likely to open up about their feelings initially, they will do so in a safe place. Support groups for dads are ideal for these kinds of conversations, and family and friends can also help encourage men to talk about their emotional wellbeing and ask for help. 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Mark!

Listen to the full episode below: