International Fathers’ Mental Health Day: An open letter to dads

In the whirlwind of fatherhood, it’s easy to lose sight of your own emotional wellbeing. The demands of work, family, and everyday life often take precedence, leaving little time for self-care.

However, on today’s International Fathers’ Mental Health Day, it’s crucial to recognise that your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

1 in 10 expecting or new dads experience perinatal anxiety or depression in Australia and 56% do not seek support, according to the Centre of Perinatal Psychology. As part of today’s campaign, they state that ‘since men are three times more likely to take their own lives, it’s essential that dads who feel overwhelmed, anxious or depressed seek help’.

It’s time to prioritise your mental health: An open letter to dads

Dear dads,

Being a parent is an incredible journey, filled with joy, love, and unforgettable moments. But it can also be challenging and overwhelming at times. When you take care of your emotional wellbeing, you’re not only benefiting yourself, but also your loved ones, including your partner, children, and even your friends.

Here are five reasons why investing in your mental wellbeing is so important:

  1. Role modelling: As a dad, you play a significant role in shaping your children’s lives. They look up to you and learn from your actions. By prioritising your mental health, you’re setting a powerful example for them. You’re teaching them the importance of self-care and showing them that it’s okay to express emotions and seek support when needed.
  2. Emotional availability: Your mental wellbeing affects your ability to be emotionally present and available for your family. When you take care of yourself, you can better manage stress, regulate your emotions, and communicate effectively. This creates a nurturing and supportive environment at home, fostering stronger connections with your loved ones.
  3. Improved relationships: When you’re in a good mental state, you’re more likely to engage in positive and fulfilling relationships. Healthy communication, empathy, and understanding are essential for building strong connections with your partner and children. Taking care of your mental health enhances your capacity to be an active listener and respond to their needs with compassion.
  4. Stress management: Life can be demanding, and being a dad often means juggling multiple responsibilities simultaneously. When you neglect your mental wellbeing, stress can accumulate, leading to burnout, irritability, and even physical health problems. Prioritising self-care and seeking support when needed helps you manage stress effectively and maintain a healthier balance in your life.
  5. Personal growth: Taking care of your mental health opens doors to personal growth and self-discovery. It allows you to explore your passions, interests, and values outside of your role as a dad. Engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfilment can reinvigorate your spirit and help you become a more fulfilled and well-rounded individual.

Remember, seeking support and taking care of your mental wellbeing is not a sign of weakness but a demonstration of strength. It shows that you value yourself and your loved ones enough to invest in your overall well-being.

So, dear dads, we encourage you to prioritise your mental health. Make time for self-care activities that replenish your energy, seek support from friends or professionals when needed, and embrace vulnerability as a path to growth and connection. By doing so, you’re not only taking care of yourself but also creating a positive and nurturing environment for your entire family.

You matter, your mental health matters, and your loved ones need you to be at your best.

Here’s where to get professional help and support for Australian fathers and non-birthing parents:


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