Mental health campaigner Mark Williams to publish 10-year Fathers’ Reaching Out Report on World Suicide Prevention Day 2020
On World Suicide Prevention Day – Thursday 10th September – Mark Williams will be publishing a gathering report, setting out his findings from the past ten years on paternal mental health, thanks to sponsors DadPad.
Partly influenced by UK fathers’ mental health campaigners, in January 2019 NHS England announced that, for the very first time, fathers whose partners were accessing specialist perinatal mental health services would now be screened for their own mental health. Whilst this is a positive step, much more is needed.
For example, at present, the World Health Organisation sets out no information on paternal mental health and the UK NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) Guidelines CG192 Antenatal and postnatal mental health: clinical management and service guidance focus solely on women. This is in spite of the fact that:
- Fathers with perinatal mental health problems are up to 47% more likely the risk to be rated as a suicide risk than at any other time in their lives (Quevedo et al, 2010)
- Over 39% of new fathers wanted support for their mental health (Mental Health Foundation, 2018)
- 62% of dads felt that their mental health difficulties got in the way of their forming a good connection with their children (Fathers Network Scotland, 2019)
- Fathers with good mental health help mitigate the impact of maternal mental illness, acting as a protective factor for the children’s mental health (Khan, 2017)
Mark has gathered evidence from research, reports, parents and professionals, all of which demonstrate that more needs to be done, including:
- more research into specific areas of concern
- improved engagement and involvement of dads by healthcare professionals throughout the perinatal period
- introduction of appropriate methods of mental health screening of partners during the perinatal period
- greater availability of support groups and specialist services across the country
- investigation of ways in which employers can support new dads throughout the perinatal period
“The biggest killer in men under 50 is suicide and many fathers don’t get asked about their mental health during the antenatal and postnatal period. I hope that this report will raise awareness amongst health professionals, educators, parents and families – as well as with MPs, the Department of Health & Social Care, and NHS Commissioners.
“We want an acknowledgement that dads – as well as mums – struggle during the perinatal period. Many men will have a past history of anxiety, depression and trauma before becoming a parent, but many others will not, yet all are susceptible. Supporting all parents will lead to far better outcomes for everyone, including in particular the child.”
“We also need to reinforce that we are not looking at fathers in isolation, or at the expense of mothers. While I will continue the work we have always done to look after mums, too, this is about the mental health of the entire family, and about recognising the importance and impact of early prevention measures.”
Julian Bose, from the report’s sponsors, added:
“We are delighted to be able to support Mark to get this report out, not only to acknowledge the tremendous work that he has carried out over the past ten years as a pioneer for fathers’ mental health, but also to help recognise and raise awareness of the work and change that is still needed to ensure that all parents and families gain the help that they need in order to achieves the best possible outcomes for all – child, family and society as a whole.”
For more information, or to arrange media interview, please contact Mark via:
Phone: 07472 959889
Mark’s website can be found at: http://www.reachingoutpmh.co.uk
Mark is also very active on Twitter – @MarkWilliamsFMH
For more information on the report’s sponsors:
Phone: 07403 274757
Fathers Network Scotland, (2019). 2019 Health and wellbeing Survey Results.
Fathers Network Scotland. Available from:
Khan, L., (2017). Briefing 50: Fatherhood – The impact of fathers on children’s mental health.
Centre for Mental Health. Available from:
Mental Health Foundation, (2018). Father’s Day: a focus on young fathers and mental health.
Mental Health Foundation. Available from:
Quevedo, L., et al.., (2011). Risk of suicide and mixed episode in men in the postpartum period.
Journal of Affective Disorders. 132(1-2), 243-246. Available from: 10.1016/j.jad.2011.01.004