Health visitors focus on the welfare of mother and baby but what about the father’s mental health and wellbeing?
Sharin Baldwin, Clinical Academic Lead (Nursing) for LNWH, poses the question in her research paper Working with Fathers: reflections and learning from the New Dad Study.
Sharin bought together a group of first-time fathers and was surprised about how willing they were to talk about their experience
“It was interesting to see my own preconceptions come to light. I assumed we would find it difficult to recruit men to the study and that they would be reluctant to talk about personal issues like mental health. I was wrong on both counts.”
Health visitors have themselves expressed concerns about their limited experience of working with fathers and lack of confidence in assessing their health and wellbeing needs.
Several key messages emerged for health visitors to consider including actively encouraging fathers to talk about their experience as first-time fathers, encouraging fathers to participate and looking at their needs as men as well fathers.
Sharin added: “If we want fathers to be engaged with health services and professionals we need to listen to their needs and ensure their views are reflected.”
Sharin had written several papers on the topic.