Dad Matters Somerset is a PIMHs (Parent/Infant Mental Health) project developed by Home-Start West Somerset. We have a number of elements to the support we offer.
Dad Champion – Outreach
Our outreach volunteers meet dads in various places, such as at events, through organised groups and in particular maternity settings. According to the Fatherhood Institute, over 92% of dads attend a scan or antenatal appointment with their partners.
This means that this is by far the most likely place to be able to engage them. Our aim at this point is to distribute information and resources, and ask dads #howareyoudad.
We also have conversations about their babies and children. We collect information on how many dads are seen and spoken to, what things they are concerned about and any signposting that has been done.
Dad Champion – Groups
Our group volunteers facilitate “Dad Chat” groups within antenatal classes where dads are given the opportunity to talk about their concerns away from partners. We facilitate these discussions and offer support and signposting. We collect information on what topics were covered, where dads were signposted to and numbers of dads attending.
These can be adapted to include targeted groups of dads. We also run wellbeing groups, Perinatal Mental Health groups, miscarriage and loss groups and groups for survivors of sexual abuse.
Dad Champion – Lived Experience
We have volunteers who have lived experience of various dad situations. These include supporting mum’s with perinatal mental heath issues, dad’s perinatal mental health, child loss and miscarriage, Children with disabilities etc, and these volunteers help us with targeted sessions for other dads.
Our paid Dad Matters Coordinators recruit, train and support our volunteers to deliver the universal Dad Chats, and also deliver more targeted support for NICU dads, young dads, LGBT+ Dads and dads who are supporting mums with perinatal mental health issues.
We also take a small number of referrals for brief interventions with the aim of encouraging dad to talk, explore options and access perinatal support.
All of our volunteers and staff have been involved in delivering the message that Dad Matters. We speak at conferences, team meetings, with professionals like midwives and health visitors, adult mental health teams, 3rd sector organisations and various events. Some of the more notable ones have been the Wales and SW Midwifery Festival, The National Better Births Conference, The NHS England reference groups for maternal mental health and for supporting fathers and partners.
We also deliver training, both within our commissioned areas for professionals, bespoke commissions for other services and alongside organisations such as the Institute of Health Visiting and Alright Mate CIC.
Charlie Hull – Dad Matters Coordinator
Our information and education sharing is predominantly done through social media. We have profiles on twitter, facebook, Instagram, tik tok and youtube. Our handle on all platforms is @dadmattersuk and there are universal elements on all platforms, as it’s important that professionals and other parents are also aware of how much Dad Matters.
You can find out more here www.dadmatters.org.uk/QR or scan the code.