Planning for and having a child are life-changing events that should focus families’ attention on health. While the health system importantly concentrates on mothers and babies, how well does the health system cater for men’s health needs at this time? And what can be done to improve men’s involvement?
Healthy Male conducted two national surveys to help answer these questions and many more about men’s health needs and experiences on their journey to fatherhood.
A big thank you to everyone that took part in the surveys. We're currently reviewing the 500+ responses received and will provide project updates via our monthly e-newsletters — subscribe to stay in the loop.
Men – have your say!
This survey was for men who had fathered or tried to father a child in the last five years. The questions asked about men’s experiences of the health system, whether their health needs were discussed and/or addressed and whether they felt supported on their journeys to fatherhood.
Health professionals – your voice matters!
This survey was for health professionals from general practice, fertility support, midwifery, obstetrics and gynaecology services. The questions explored current practice, systems and processes for engaging men and the barriers and enablers to creating a truly father-inclusive health system.
Why Plus Paternal is needed
We know that the health of fathers can influence the health of their children. We also know that the transition to fatherhood can be a time of stress that can lead to postnatal depression in men, with up to 1 in 10 men experiencing this. However, for a range of reasons, addressing men’s health needs as they become fathers is often overlooked.
The reproductive health system includes health support from pre-conception through pregnancy and into the post-natal period. Although the system focusses on mothers and babies, it provides many opportunities to engage men and support their health needs and their transition to fatherhood. This includes discussions with men about:
- Sexual and reproductive health
- Risk factors that could impact on the health of their children
- Postnatal depression
- Miscarriage or the loss of a child
- The information, supports and services that they could access.
Developed with alignment to the National Men’s Health Strategy 2020-2030, the Plus Paternal Project aims to improve the health of men and their children by influencing changes to the health system to better-support the engagement of fathers and potential fathers
During the first stage of the Project we will examine the current situation across Australia in relation to men’s involvement with the reproductive health system.
We’ll be talking to a wide range of stakeholders, reviewing the published literature and conducting surveys of men and health professionals.
Our findings will be shared at a national Round Table Event to be held in Canberra in 2020, where we will identify opportunities and priorities for future work. Outcomes will be documented in a Case for Change Report.
In stage two, Healthy Male will start to address the recommendations arising from stage one by developing and testing new ideas that have emerged from the process.
We acknowledge that there are a wide range of organisations with expertise in related areas and are keen to work with others to increase the focus on men nationally. Opportunities may arise through health promotion, education, primary health, fertility support, post-natal support, general health and well-being, workplace policy development and implementation and/or the mental health system.
Ethics approval for the Plus Paternal: A Focus on Fathers surveys was granted by Monash University. For more information, see the explanatory statements below.
Want more information?
For more information about the Plus Paternal Project please get in touch via our Contact us page.