So why are the needs of fathers seemingly overlooked by the health system?

After looking at the evidence and running the findings by senior health practitioners, we identified the following problem.

The problem

Australian society, and our health system, have not kept pace with the changing needs, expectations, roles, and diversity of modern-day families.
Non-birthing parents, most commonly men, are not systematically engaged or supported from preconception to parenthood. They are often treated as secondary to fertility, birthing, and parenting processes — welcome but not active partners. Many do not receive the care they need if they are unable to conceive, if they lose a child or if they are struggling with parenthood. Opportunities to prepare them for this major life transition are lost.

This negatively impacts the health and well-being of all family members, as well as relationships within families.

The Case for Change is an advocacy document that seeks to address this problem. It outlines:

  • How social and gendered norms affect fathers
  • Why our health system needs to change, and
  • How, by taking a top-down and bottom-up approach, the system can be changed to recognise, value, and support the health and wellbeing of men and women from preconception to parenthood.

The Case for Change calls for a fundamental shift in the way society and the health system views fathers, and change across all levels of the system, and beyond. It asks organisations, policymakers, and the community to work towards seven goals and suggests actions to help achieve those goals. 

The goals
  1. Society recognises and values both parents equally
  2. Health policy addresses the health and wellbeing of both parents
  3. The health system supports the proactive engagement of both parents 
  4. Health practitioners are willing and able to support men and women
  5. Both parents are prepared for the transition to parenthood
  6. Parents who experience loss, distress, or are struggling with parenthood receive the care they need
  7. Practice is evidence-informed and shaped by the lived experiences of both men and women

Download the Case for Change

Download the Case for Change references