New and expectant fathers will be offered mental health checks and treatment under radical action to support families, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens announced this weekend (2nd December 2018)

It will mean that partners of expectant and new mothers who are seriously unwell, are not left to suffer in silence with mental health issues but are offered a range of help such as peer-support, behavioural couples therapy sessions and other family and parenting interventions in specialist community perinatal mental health settings or referred to a leading psychological talking therapy programme.

“The NHS has a role to play in helping support the whole family. These days dads and partners are rightly expected to be more hands on and NHS mental health services also need to step up and support families at times of extreme stress and anxiety.” – Simon Stevens, Chief Exec NHS England

“Any form of mental ill health during pregnancy, labour or early parenthood is a huge concern and it doesn’t just disrupt life for mums but also for dads, partners and the wider family. We want to give every family the best possible start in life and this will help do that.” – Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s national mental health director

“It is essential to support those people who care for these mums the most – their partners. This targeted support will help to achieve this.” – Dr Giles Berrisford, associate national clinical director for perinatal mental health for NHS England

There is growing evidence of the mental health risk new and expectant fathers face. In the first six months after the birth of a baby, estimates put the prevalence rates of anxiety and depression symptoms in men at up to one in 10, while one in five women will experience a mental health problem during pregnancy and the first year after birth.