We did it
On 29th May 2020 we successfully raised £1,302 ( + est. £101.75 Gift Aid ) with 68 supporters in 86 days

Suicide is the biggest killer of males under 45 in Scotland. We'll help men to reach the mental health and wellbeing support they need.

by Fathers Network Scotland in Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

New stretch target

We are crowdfunding for stage one of the project, which is the research we'll undertake with our users to ensure the app is as useful as possible. Any extra funding we receive will be put into the app design and development.

Who are we?

Fathers Network Scotland is this year celebrating a decade of work focusing on making Scotland a brilliant place for children to grow up. We believe that by welcoming and actively encouraging dads to play their nurturing role, we are unlocking a vital asset in the health and wellbeing of our families, our communities and our society as a whole. 

We cover the whole of Scotland, offering training, consultancy, events, research and media work. Our Directory of over 200 partner organisations points dads, father-figures and families in the direction of inclusive services across the country. We’ve co-produced manuals for dads-to-be, given evidence to the equal opportunities committee of the Scottish Parliament, and in 2016 we organised Year of the Dad – a nationwide celebration of fatherhood and the importance of fathers in child development and parenting.

This is the team: Cathy Sexton, Chris Miezitis, Kirsty Nicholls, Laura Swan, Dave Devenney and Molly the dog.

The background

Child and Family Services across Scotland take an approach using the National Practice Model: Getting it Right for Every Child, or GIRFEC. The model makes it clear that our practice must be focused primarily on the health and wellbeing needs of a child, supporting the family around the child. However, our most recent Father's Day survey found that three fifths of dads feel their mental health gets in the way of good connections with their children. So if we're focusing on the wellbeing of Scottish children, it's of vital importance that we consider dads' mental health. 

Suicide remains the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in Scotland. In an attempt to reduce this heart-breaking statistic we have been running the 'How Are You Dad?' pilot project. Funded by the Scottish Government, we've trained nearly 70 professionals from the NHS, local authorities, third sector organisations and the private sector to check in with new dads about how they're feeling.

Unfortunately, our latest survey discovered that of the men who had looked for support for their mental health needs, 83% percent of them found it difficult to find the support they needed.

Why we need your help

We are reaching more people who are engaged in our male mental health and wellbeing content, with more one-to-one and group discussions around our work and messages than ever before. We feel that we are better reaching dads, encouraging them to seek support if they need it, and we're able to point them in the direction of services who may be of use to them. An example of some of the messages we have received include:

“Thank you for getting back to me… Being a single dad can be such a dark place when it’s the best thing to ever happen to anyone… Just to let you know I attended the men's group you put me in touch with, and I enjoyed the session. But learning a member had taken his own life a couple of weeks ago was very hard hitting. Men need more help. Thank you very much for your help, it’s greatly appreciated.”

“... I am looking for support, I don't know where to begin.  I feel totally lost, agitated and low since the birth of our son.  I'm in Edinburgh if you have anywhere I can link into.”

We would like to develop an application that will help us to direct dads to the appropriate support services within our directory and beyond, which could also become a space for users to find and offer live peer support. 

The first stage of this project that we would love your help with via this crowdfunder, will be to research the use of digital media platforms by men to support their mental health, which we have seen is a more immediate, anonymous and inviting way of communicating for those who don't feel able to talk openly about their feelings. This piece of software will allow people to access our network of resources in a more efficient and timely way, whenever it is needed, day or night.

Engineer Ross Duns attended our 'How Are You Dad?' training as a mental health first aider in his workplace. Here he talks about the impact that getting men talking about their mental health has had on breaking down any stigma. We hope our app will be an extension of this work.

The app will complement our ongoing outreach work and training in the areas of male mental health, perinatal care, workplace policies/entitlements and support to combat the challenges around gender stereotyping in all areas of family life.

Got an idea like this?

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