Dad Matters was set up to support dads with three main things – attachment and bonding, mental health for both parents and accessing appropriate services at the right time.
Why this matters
We couldn’t identify any services that gave dads the opportunity to talk about their concerns, find out about attachment and brain development and be signposted to appropriate resources. Dads are overwhelmingly less likely to access professional services such as midwifery, health visiting and adult mental health services. Dads didn’t engage with the generic services, including third sector, because there seemed to be a perception that they were taking time or resources that are meant for their partners
What we did
- Social media platforms – developing a range of information videos @DadMattersUK
- Developed a brand in consultation with dads
- Printed resources
- Outreach processes
- Dad Chat – a group we deliver within antenatal education classes
- A robust, simple and attractive volunteer recruitment process where our trained volunteers deliver our outreach and groups in their localities
- At least one volunteer in each borough
- Set up a process to work really closely with:
- Maternity services to maximise the impact we can have. Dads are more engaged antenatally than any other time, so it made sense to work in this area first
- Health visiting, Neonatal staff, Startwell and adult mental health services to engage dads, support staff and offer resources
- Perinatal mental health teams and parent infant mental health teams
We have now recruited a Dad Matters coordinator who will cover 20% of Greater Manchester.
Why we did this.
We wanted to see better knowledge of the parent/infant relationship, brain development, mental health and access to services. Dads asked us to develop a way of getting information to them, about parenting, mental health, and more
What the service provides
We help dads understand how:
- How their babies develop so they can develop their relationship with their baby
- Their own mental health can affect their child’s development
What we’ve seen so far
We’re widely well received by the services we engage with and have the opportunity to meet and engage dads across the borough in numbers never seen before.
Just wanted to let you know I facilitated my first Dads Chat tonight at Woodley Health Centre. It was amazing. I had 8 dads and they were fab. They were very open and honest about their fears of becoming a parent and the realities of what it would be like. They had real fears about their mental health and the effects sleep deprivation would have on them and their partners. They brain stormed where their support would come from and their expectations of what family and friends could help with and the wider community support from midwife, health visitor, GP etc. I got the impression some of the dad’s had personal knowledge of accessing support around mental health services and we spoke about services available in Stockport eg Healthy Minds. Unfortunately and sadly one of the dad’s said that he had attended all his partners antenatal appointments with the Midwife but felt excluded and invisible. I can share this information with my community midwife colleagues and explore some ways they can ensure dads feel included and welcome. Overall the dads said they enjoyed the opportunity to have a chat. I obviously told them how wonderful the Dads Matter FB page is and we had leaflets about your service and about Dad Pad. Hope you are well. Community Midwife, Cheadle and Bramhall Team
What have dads said about us
“This has been brilliant, thank you, it seems silly but I really didn’t know about different baby states”
“I didn’t know about the various states”
“Learned to listen to myself and not expect to be a superhero, access services as and when needed. Thank you very much for a very helpful class and giving me plenty to go away and think about”
“Sleep and alert stages particularly helpful – thank you! “
“I wasn’t aware of the stages of being awake and asleep and the importance of the active alert state“
“Thank you for the helpful info, I wasn’t aware about the states and also the brain development“
“Thank you very helpful. Dadpad looks awesome“
“Yeh thanks for today mate really helpful – i found the 3 stages of awake and sleep really useful, gonna watch those videos again today with my partner! Gonna be in the good books haha“
We’re currently expanding what we offer to reach dads in other localities, within other teams, and for more targeted groups of dads. These more targeted cohorts include Perinatal mental health team dads, Neonatal dads, young dads and dads who have experienced child loss.
We’re now delivering online antenatal groups for dads, that are free to access. Booking can be done directly through Eventbrite or on our website
We work with dads one to one in the perinatal period to support their relationship with their baby, and to signpost them to services they may otherwise have ignored.