The Dads and Football project report by the Mental Health Foundation in partnership with Cardiff City Football Club and the National Centre for Mental Health at Cardiff University and funded by the Wellcome Trust has been published to mark International Men’s Day. The report can be found here.
The findings of the report revealed there is very little support available for new dads as they face the challenges that entering fatherhood brings. An online survey conducted through the Dads and Football project found that 70% of Dads want more information on what to expect when becoming a Dad.
The Mental Health Foundation led the 2-year project to learn about the experiences of men when they become dads. Dads involved with the project had an opportunity to talk fatherhood and football, play five-a-side games at venues around Cardiff and later online, as a result of the pandemic.
Dads were joined by Will Vaulks, Cardiff City FC and Wales International who was awarded the Professional Footballer’s Association 2021 ‘Player in the Community award’. Will, an expectant dad at the time, joined the group to discuss how the life change had impacted them.
Unfortunately, there is very little research undertaken on Dads’ perinatal mental health and more generally, men’s life-changing transition to fatherhood. This is reflected in the lack of support currently available to them.
The Mental Health Foundation wants the Welsh Government to recognise this gap, and to include perinatal mental health screening and support for both parents as part of midwifery assessments in their forthcoming mental health strategy.
The Mental Health Foundation have teamed up with the Fatherhood Institute to create ‘Becoming Dad’, a useful guide containing up-to-date research and information alongside lots of practical tips and advice. The guide is free and can be downloaded here.