A scheme in Salford that provides 'safe spaces' for fathers to discuss their emotional wellbeing and connect with their children has improved engagement with health promotion, a study in Health Promotion International found.
The Salford Dadz network, now called Dadly Does It, aims to improve the wellbeing of men and their children by enabling local fathers to support each other. The scheme provides fathers who may be otherwise reluctant to discuss their wellbeing with emotional support. The study found that the scheme provided participants with feelings of belonging and provided them with alternatives to their existing methods of dealing with emotion.
Importantly, the researchers identified opportunities for behaviour change when it came to health promotion. The researchers stated that ‘fathers have a significant impact on child health and development, however family interventions such as parenting groups rarely target men’. According to the researchers, by improving the relationship between father and child, health outcomes can be improved.
‘Discovering safe opportunities for men to share the difficulties they are experiencing helped them find alternative ways to deal with many of the challenges they faced,’ said Steve Robertson, professor of men, gender and health, and co-director of the Centre for Men’s Health at Leeds Beckett University. ‘There were clear links between the fathers’ wellbeing and that of their children.’