Mark Williams and Chris Bingley have joined together to launch Dads Matter UK.
Their aim is to raise awareness amongst dads and to encourage open discussion and disclosure of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress during the 1001 Critical Days from Conception to Age 2. This is a crucial time when parental behaviours and attitudes (Mental Health) impact upon the development of the child.
Chris and Mark are passionately committed to the same cause, but from different view-points and for different reasons, and they aim to challenge and change the stigma associated with mental health, specifically Postnatal Depression (PND) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Mark didn’t understand what postnatal depression was and he struggled to come to terms with the trauma first hand during the birth of his child, resulting in his first ever panic attack.Mark suffered from Post-Traumatic Stresshis panic attack brought on by his fear of the unknown and the utter overwhelming feelings of worry that his wife and baby might come to harm during the birth.
Recent research from Oxford University found that 15 per cent of fathers suffer from Postnatal Depression.
Finding little to know support available for dads in his position Mark went on to found the charity Fathers Reaching Out and had great success and won awards for his work in raising awareness and establishing services in Wales.
Chris, like Mark,didn’t understand the risks and issues associated with postnatal depression.
His wife Joe (Joanne) suffered from severe postnatal depression following the birth of their baby girl and whilst being treated at home just 10 weeks after giving birth she took her own life. Whilst recording a verdict of suicide the Coroner confirmed as fact that hers was one of many “avoidable deaths” each year.
Chris now brings up his daughter Emily alone and when she started school in September 2014 they flagged her “at risk” due to her early childhood crisis and trauma. Having made a “request for service” the waiting time is 2 years for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service interventions ….. for Emily this is too late!
Chris founded the charity The Joanne (Joe) Bingley Memorial Foundation which exists to ensure future generations such as his daughter have access to information and to appropriate care and support.
Chris is also a member of the Parliamentary All Party Policy Group: Age 2 to Conception, responsible for the report #BuildingGreatBritons that looks into Child and Maternal Mental Health during the 1001CriticalDays.
DADS MATTER UK A GATEWAY TO SERVICES AND SUPPORT FOR PARENTS SUFFERING FROM ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
There are a plethora of “local groups” and “social media sites” but it is not always clear as to whether they have supervision and safeguarding polices in place or have trained their volunteers and staff.
Utilising their joint experiences, skills and knowledge the concept is to:
- Launch Dads Matter UK on Fathers Day 2015
- Create and establish a social media network that that encourages open discussion and disclosure of the risks and issues associated with parental mental illness, signposting those in need to appropriate support.
- Create an online “Gateway” to resources for the general public, corporate enterprise and Perinatal Mental Health Champions, highlighting those that follow supervision and safeguarding polices.
- Establish supervised support on social media (including online chat-room meetings)
- Hold a series of regional and national events aimed at Corporate Enterprise and Social Care professionals showcasing the business case and benefits of encouraging open discussion and disclosure with the signposting for those in need to appropriate support.
Whilst GP’s are supposed to use “talking therapies” as the first line of response, with little or no access to IAPT Services 97% of mums fail to receive the treatment necessary to make a full recovery which condemns them, their children, partners and families to a future of anxiety and fear.
For the vast majority of dads there are little to know services, although they should be able to access the same “talking therapies” as mums IAPT Services have the capacity to treat less than 15% of those referred.
By creating a forum for establishing an integrated network of Perinatal Mental Health Champions, in the Work Place, in Social Care and in Social Media the aim is to ensure everyone has access to the information and support they need to prevent the unnecessary suffering of parents from anxiety and depression that impacts on their child’s early development and costs the economy an estimated £23billion each year.
Fathers and Postnatal Depression Oxford University – 18 May 2015
Recent research from Oxford University found that 15 per cent of fathers suffer from Postnatal Depression. This is due to financial and many other reasons but also because if their partners suffer depression or anxiety then there is an impact from their partners illness that affects the father which can make him feel isolated. Fathers then use negative coping skills like drink and drugs to cope with their feeling and many tend to ignore they’re issues until it hits crisis point many years later.
Health professionals are talking about the need to support fathers but the needs of fathers are not being met at the moment.
Building Great Briton Report APPG Conception to Age 2 – 20 Feb 2015
The cost of failing to deal adequately with perinatal mental health and child maltreatment has been estimated at £23billion each year. The two are closely linked and more importantly largely avoidable. This is a problem that is widespread and when unchecked passes from one generation to the next.
The groundwork for good citizenship occurs in the first 1001 days. A society which delivers this for its children creates a strong foundation for almost every aspect of its future. Poor attachment leads to poor social and physical development and behavioural problems.
No section of society is immune. Deprivation may lead to a greater concentration of affected families, middle class mothers can be just as prone to perinatal mental health problems and the impact on their children. Certain groups, such as the families of armed services personnel, are a particularly high risk section of the population yet go largely under the radar.
This is not ‘rocket science.’ Technically it is ‘neuro-science.’ Tackling this problem should be no less a priority for our politicians and our health and social care professionals than defence of the realm.