Supporting fathers’ mental health during the perinatal period
1 March 2023, 01:00PM to 02:00PM
Carol Dabb, Kirsty Lowe, Claudius Reiman, Dan Moss
About this webinar
This webinar was held on Wednesday, 1 March 2023.
A full recording of the webinar and related resources, including slides, audio and a transcript, will be published soon. Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive a notification when these resources are available.
Fathers play an important role in promoting the health and early development of their children. Expectant and new fathers can experience a range of mental health concerns during the perinatal period including irritability, negative mood, increased alcohol use, anxiety, anger and depression.
These experiences can impact the wellbeing of their families. This may include an increase in the likelihood of relationship challenges and negative paternal parenting behaviours. Many fathers report wanting to help and support their partners in the perinatal period but often feel unsure how to, and report feeling excluded or sidelined by formal and informal support services and systems. On top on this, the pressure to conform to stereotypes around being ‘strong’ and not needing mental health support can stigmatise help seeking.
To achieve positive outcomes for infants and families, it’s important that support is available that meets the needs of all expecting and new parents during the perinatal period.
This webinar will discuss
- Fathers’ mental health concerns in the perinatal period
- Support fathers need during the perinatal period
- Fathers’ experiences of seeking support
- Practice tips and insights for supporting fathers during the perinatal period
This webinar will be of interest to non-specialist practitioners who may work with or encounter fathers or families in the perinatal period, including those working in generalist services with no experience providing mental health services.
This webinar is co-produced by CFCA and Emerging Minds in a series focusing on children’s mental health. They are working together as part of the Emerging Minds: National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health, which is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health under the National Support for Child and Youth Mental Health Program.
Provisional psychologist and PhD Candidate, Australian Catholic University, Strathfield, NSW
Carol Dabb is passionate about the mental health of parents and families. Carol's research mainly focuses on the experiences of fathers during the prenatal period, with a particular focus on pregnancy-related anxiety. Carol has recently published a systematic review exploring the range of concerns, worries, and fears experienced by expectant fathers. Through her research, Carol hopes to improve the support provided to fathers during the perinatal period.
Lecturer in Social Work, Flinders University
Kirsty Lowe has worked as a social worker with children, youth, and families across a career spanning over 20 years. Thirteen of those years was spent working in metropolitan Adelaide providing therapeutic support to families with children under the age of three, predominantly around the infant-caregiver relationship, as well as a project role involving the redesign of services for families experiencing additional vulnerability and challenges in their caregiving. A significant challenge in redesigning the model of care was increasing the engagement and support of fathers as they made the transition to parenting. Kirsty is passionate creating the conditions for children and infants to be nurtured and thrive which requires those around them to be doing well, including fathers and partners.
Kirsty has, more recently, held a teaching role in social work at Flinders University working with both undergraduate and postgraduate social work students. Teaching students in the area of human development has highlighted the silence that exists in relation to the experience of caregivers other than mothers. Supporting students to recognise the role all caregivers, including fathers, can play as a source of support and strength for children is an important aspect of her teaching.
It's an honour to be part of the panel discussing the experiences of fathers in the perinatal period and how services can best meet their needs.
Child and Family Partner Emerging Minds
Claudius is a first-time father who lives and works in Adelaide and has generously given his time to contribute to various Emerging Minds projects about supporting infants and toddlers and their parents. Claudius and his wife have a 14-month-old son and hold many insights gained from the experiences both challenging and rewarding that the last couple of years have brought. From supporting his wife through a difficult pregnancy and learning on the fly while navigating his own and his wife’s mental health challenges in the early days and weeks of their son’s life, Claudius has stuck to the basics of having a commitment to making things work. He looks forward to contributing his lived and living experience wisdom to the panel’s discussion and hopes his insights can assist practitioners to find helpful ways that they can support fathers.
Workforce Development Manager, Emerging Minds
Dan Moss has been Manager, Workforce Development at Emerging Minds since 2017. Previously he worked as Assistant Director, Performance, Reporting and Evaluation at the Department for Child Protection. In this role, he worked closely with the Early Intervention Research Directorate to explore the social determinants of child disadvantage and child protection involvement. Dan worked for Uniting Communities for fifteen years, as a practitioner, supervisor and senior manager in a range of services with children, parents and families dealing with the effects of family violence, child sexual abuse, mental health conditions and drug and alcohol use. As a practitioner, Dan had a strong interest in narrative engagement strategies with children, parents and families. Dan’s PhD thesis included research on approaches to men’s behaviour change programs and a creative writing component.