Putting the focus on new dads goal of health program
THE Northern NSW Local Health District has been chosen as one of four regions across the state to take part in a free pilot program aimed at helping new and expectant fathers through the physical, emotional and mental challenges of parenthood.
The ‘Focus on New Fathers’ pilot program sends texts to dads, offering valuable health advice and links into pathways to ensure support options are available.
Northern NSW Local Health District women and children health program co-ordinator Ellie Saberi said parenthood could be a difficult time for new fathers as well new mothers.
“New dads want to be able to concentrate on their partners and children at this time, and they often don’t think to look after themselves as well,” Ms Saberi said.
“Research has shown men are often reluctant to engage with the health system to get support, despite around one in ten dads experiencing depression and anxiety in the post-natal period.
“This program is about letting fathers know they’re not alone and there is support for them when they need it.”
Men living in Northern NSW can sign up if they are over the age of 18, their partner is at least 16 weeks pregnant or their baby is younger than 24 weeks. They need to have a mobile phone capable of receiving and sending text messages.
The pilot, which is being delivered by the University of Newcastle in partnership with NSW Health, will run over the next year.
NNSWLHD senior clinical adviser, child and family health Associate Professor Elisabeth Murphy said self-care for new fathers was extremely important as the mental and physical wellbeing of both parents had a direct effect on their children.
“Receiving help with health issues early on ensures dads are in the best possible position to care for their new baby and partner,” Associate Professor Murphy said.
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Northern Sydney, Western Sydney and the Murrumbidgee areas are also part of the pilot program.
For more information, and to sign up for the program, visit https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/public/pages/focus-on-fathers.aspx