I recently met Luciana Berger, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Mental Health, to explain that fathers can also suffer with mental ill health and how this impacts on the family. Luciana was appointed to the role in September 2015 and has already been in great demand, so I was delighted to have the opportunity of discussing the importance of providing support for fathers with her.
I also spoke about the importance of support and funding in other areas of maternal mental health including the reopening of a mother and baby unit for Wales following its closure in 2013. The meeting was a big step forward in my campaign to raise awareness of men’s mental health and I would like to thank my Local MP, Huw Irranca-Davies, for introducing my colleague, Dr Jane Hanley and me.
We discussed the following:
1. Prevention and perinatal services for dads
2. Mother and baby units, we need more and not less. (There is not one in Wales or Northern Ireland).
3. The need for research into Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in fathers resulting from witnessing difficult births.
4. Fathers need to be included in the NICE guidelines relating to perinatal services.
5. Fathers’ mental health in general. (Dads with ADHD, Bipolar, Clinical Depression, Schizophrenia and other Mental Health concerns).
After the meeting, I feel confident that the Labour Party understands the need for greater early prevention services within mental health and with Luciana in her new role, I can see the support for mental health growing in the future.
We are changing people’s attitudes towards mental health for the benefit of our, and future generations and for millions of people who suffer each year in the United Kingdom.
Let’s keep campaigning, educating and most importantly, making sure that our voices are being heard in Westminster.
You can read more about Luciana’s work here http://www.lucianaberger.com/