Being Dad Parenting

International Father’s Mental Health Day

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Today is International Father’s Mental Health Day and we spoke with founder Mark Williams to learn more about it.

International Father’s Mental Heath Day was started just three years ago by author and key note speaker Mark Williams after the traumatic birth of his son. 

He created the day to highlight the fact that dads can also struggle during the antenatal and postnatal period. One in 10 dads struggle with postnatal depression (PTSD) while many others can experience post-traumatic stress disorder, an anxiety disorder that can arise from witnessing a life threatening situation in the labour ward. 

We caught up with Mark, who is using his own experience by urging dads not to suffer in silence… 

More needs to be done

“Over half a million male suicides happen globally each year – many are dads. I founded Father’s Mental Health Day in 2016 with Dr Daniel Singley as there was nothing globally at the time that spoke about the mental health issues men also experience when their children are born.

Mark Williams, Fatherhood – Mental Health.

After going through a personal experience and listening to hundreds of dads, as a keynote speaker, author and campaigner I feel more needs to be done for new dads during the antenatal and postnatal period.

Trauma in the labour ward

When dads witness trauma in the labour ward, it can lead to PTSD and anxiety disorder. There is nothing worse than thinking your loved ones are going to die and I experienced my first ever panic attack at thirty years of age right in front of my wife, Michelle. 

Like mums, dads have a history of anxiety, depression and trauma before becoming a parent and can find it hard to bond with their babies as well. But it’s difficult to see as dads often avoid situations, drink, feel anger and disconnect with families often looked at as being a ‘bad dad’. 

One thing I always say now after suffering in silence myself for years – the quicker the help, the quicker the recovery. ”

Follow mark on Twitter @MarkWilliamsFMH and find out more about International Father’s Mental Health Day here.