Raising awareness of Father's Mental Health

Today @thedadnetworkuk has launched a campaign to raise awareness and tackle the issues of men’s mental health, especially amongst fathers.

#FatherFigures encourages dads to celebrate their bodies, whilst breaking down societal stereotypes of what a ‘normal’ body should look like, we all shouldn’t be expected to look like the #LoveIsland boys! 

  • 1 in 4 men are affected by mental health problems or illness. 1 in 8 men are diagnosed with a mental health illness in the UK

  • Suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 years in England and Wales.

  • Men suffering from severe forms of body dissatisfaction has increased threefold in the last 25 years!

It is normal to have ups and downs in life and some cope better than others, but it is important to know that you are not alone, there are many resources out there to help you.

It is important not to bottle things up, I experienced a feeling of low mood when in debt in my early twenties but luckily had a supportive family around me that I could turn to and helped me see my way out of a very difficult situation. 

But if you don’t feel confident to talk to those closest to you, there are other options! 

You can stay connected by joining a safe community of dads like The Dad Network, or find someone you can trust, be it a family member or a close friend or someone you know will be supportive.  I have personally been there for a number of friends who have suffered with one form or another linked to mental health and truly believe that being there for them has helped! 

The Dad Network provided some other great tips, such as:

  • Eating well - evidence suggest that good nutrition is essential for our mental health

  • Stay aware of your alcohol consumption as this depressant can have a negative impact on mental health! For me this is something I started to understand years back and the hangovers for me used to come with massive downers and hated that feeling, hence why I rarely drink now!

  • Take time out; relaxing gives your mind and body time to recover from the stresses of everyday life.  For me this is in the evening when the house is all asleep I can put my headphones on listen to some great music and read a book, for the wife I know she loves being up early and having that first cup of coffee in peace and quiet.

  • Appreciate your body as it is; we all really do come in all different shapes and sizes and we don’t have to conform to societal stereotypes

  • Keep active - this is a big one for me, I have a job that involves a lot of driving but my recent training for my 10k March for Men in aid of Prostate Cancer has really helped my physical but I think more importantly my mental wellbeing.

  • Ask for help.  It is a courageous to recognise and ask for help if you need it

If you want to find out more, check out The Dad Networks blog post here and share your experience on line using the #FatherFigures tag!