Dad Matters UK is an antenatal group that focuses on supporting dads-to-be and new dads with babies under 12 weeks old.
Pete Mcarthur, from Higher Broughton, found support from Dad Matters when he struggled with postnatal depression after the birth of his daughter Eden.
He said: “Eden died before she was born, so the doctors had to try to bring her back life – luckily they did, and we’re very grateful for that.
“I got to a really low point where she was in hospital and I just hit rock bottom.”
Listen to Pete’s story here:
Operations Manager for Dad Matters UK, Kieran Anders, said: “We work alongside midwives at antenatal classes, we take the dads out for half an hour and we talk to them about attachment and bonding, both dad’s and mum’s mental health, and accessing services.
A fascinating insight into perinatal illness for dads. Please reach out if you need support for your own wellbeing or if you’re supporting a partner!
He continued to say: “When you’re expecting a child, you tend to think about all those support mechanisms from mums perspective – and only about how men can contribute to supporting mum.
“Our aim is to share information with dads that they might not know, particularly around attachment, mental health and accessing services, and to normalise their experiences and journey by talking, supporting and representing them.”
Already working with dads across Greater Manchester, thanks to the Salford CCG they have been able to start groups with the dads of Salford.
Anders said: “Starting work in Salford has been such a learning curve, particularly starting it during lockdown.
“Normally we would sit in a waiting area of an antenatal area and speak to dads, but what we’ve started to do, because of lockdown, is meeting them on the car park and speaking to them there, as well as online.”
“Over a week of sessions we managed to speak to over 125 dads.”
They now run online groups for each area around Greater Manchester, including Salford, but from January the groups will merge so that dads can join any group that they wish to.
On Wednesdays, they also run a dad chat live over on Facebook at 6pm, where they talk about different subjects, including postpartum psychosis, becoming a dad over lockdown, mental health issues and talks with health visitors.
When developing Dad Matters UK, Anders said: “We found that many dads don’t want to take time away from services that mum needs – such as midwives – they don’t want to bother them.
“So we worked on trying not to just replicate a mums service for dads, but to create a brand that dads find useful and could engage with.”
They also work with Proud 2 b Parents because the information they give out is relevant to all families, including LGBT, surrogate, and adoptive families.
Salford Coordinator, Nick Samuel, works one to one with the dads of Salford, he said: “my work includes letting a dad offload and talk about what’s going on in his life, and parenting.
“I offer support in terms of how he can build that bond or attachment, and we want to get across how important they are in the relationship he is with his partner and baby.”
To @homestartuk thank you for existing. To @dadmattersuk Mic and Kieran. On one night you might have helped save my life. That means you meant my son has a father, that my partner has a partner to get through the hard days that I can handle now. (11/12)
— Steve Wright (@steviecomms) November 23, 2020
Although they are not clinically or medically trained, they offer support by putting into practice the knowledge they’ve gained from being dads themselves, and from continually working with, and supporting other dads.
Pete Mcarthur said: “With my story, I feel that when people hear it they’re shocked, but then they think, if he can speak out and get through it, then why can’t I?
“For anyone who’s struggling with mental health, you can talk to any volunteer from Dad Matters, always reach out.”
You can book a place in the Salford group here