Looking after new dads

October 11, 2019

Whether it’s due to lack of sleep, money worries or new responsibilities, many men struggle to cope with all the challenges a new-born brings. 

We offer paternity workshops that enable our employees to share their experiences and fears as they prepare for parenthood

It’s part of our broader occupational health strategy to provide a range of mental health and psychological services, as well as resilience and stress management training. 

Sessions cover how to support your partner and how to build a family support network and certified mental health first aid trainers offer one-to-one counselling.

“Many new dads have no idea that men suffer from postnatal depression. There is a tendency to bottle up emotions, stay silent or simply withdraw into themselves, to the point their work and family life suffer beyond repair.” said Lara Nicoll, manager, Ford of Britain. “Creating an environment where men can talk openly about their anxiety enables them to feel less isolated and become the dads they want to be.”

In the U.K., we have for more than two decades offered maternity workshops, covering flexible work options, statutory entitlements and well-being. The paternity workshops are an extension of this program. New dads also try on a pregnancy suit, which gives an insight into how their partners may be feeling, carrying the weight of a baby.  

Research shows that 25 per cent of men suffer from postnatal depression in the first three to six months after their child is born, almost twice the rate of depression normally seen in men. One-in-ten expectant fathers will also become depressed during their partner’s pregnancy. First-time fathers, men under 25 and those with a history of mental health issues are particularly vulnerable. 

Our paternity workshops are part of the company’s gender and diversity strategy. In the U.K., a 24-hour helpline enables employees to seek assistance for their mental health issues. Parents and parents-to-be in the U.K. and Germany can also seek assistance from an open forum for parents to share advice and information.

Last year, we launched the “Elephant in the Transit” campaign with Time to Change to raise awareness of mental health in the workplace. 

“We know it can be hard to talk about mental health, especially in a workplace setting. We commend Ford for creating the space for male employees to speak openly and honestly about their experiences, and the topic of mental health in general. Everyone’s attitude makes a difference, and by bringing the subject of paternal mental health into the light, Ford is paving the way for men to seek support without stigma or fear of judgement,” said Jo Loughran, director, Time to Change.