Dads in Mind in BANES (part of Bluebell Care), supported by the wonderful team at Kidd & Bear, is a peer support service that aims to provide dads with the right kind of help when they need it most. One in 10 dads find their mental health is affected by becoming a parent. Today we hear more from the wonderful Andy…

Ps. There’s a Dads in Mind meet up tonight (30th September)! Here are all the details.

“I started Kidd & Bear a couple of years ago as a journey that stemmed from becoming parents and wanting to make a difference to other parents. Post Natal Depression sadly took hold of our family for a couple of years and during that time we realised how under-resourced perinatal mental health was; especially for Dads. My wife and I wanted to set something up specifically to support Dads after realising how isolating it can be for them and how difficult it is to find help either as someone who is suffering or supporting a partner who is struggling.

We were lucky enough that my wife found support through Domini Barry at OpenSpace (the charity that we currently support with Kidd & Bear). Domini and her group (also based in Bath) turned our lives around and we will be forever grateful to her for being so instrumental in helping my wife find her way back to health. This was, of course, amazing for us as a family but during the 2 years it took us to navigate our way out, there was nowhere for me to turn to for support. The pressure of supporting a loved one through mental illness is like an intensity I had never experienced. You are helpless in more ways than I care to count and yet before your very eyes, you are watching the person you love disappear in front of you. I found it near impossible to talk to friends and family either because my wife wasn’t ready to share her struggles or later because of a lack of understanding of what I/we were going through. As a result I kept it to myself for too long and that in turn created my own challenges.

On the back of that experience we had grand aspirations to set up a charity designed to support dads on this journey realising their needs are very different to Mum’s and recognising the approach we would need to take would need to be reflective of how Dad’s function in the real world if we were to get them to engage. At this stage we were a husband and wife with a 2 year old doing our best to set up a new business from scratch and so whilst our commitment was strong our resources were limited, to say the least, and so realistically this would be a project for the future once Kidd & Bear was fully established.

Then one day I received a message from Domini saying the Dad’s in Mind, a Bristol-based charity part of Bluebell Care were recruiting for someone to expand their support service for Dad’s into BANES. Dad’s in Mind shared exactly the same ethos of supporting Dad’s through this difficult time. Realising the strain mental health can have on the whole family unit and acknowledging that the best route to recovery was to make sure that everyone had the opportunity to explore their personal situation and get the support they needed. And so I joined their team in June 2019 to carry on the great work they have already been doing in Bristol

Dads in Mind is a peer support service that uses shared experience and knowledge of local support services to get Dad’s the right kind of help when they need it most. One in 10 Dads find their mental health is affected by becoming a parent and yet it is often something that goes unrecognised and unsupported. We believe that without supporting the whole family through these difficult times we are only ever helping solve a part of a puzzle.

Dads in Mind is on Facebook and Twitter¬†and our next dads meet is on 30th September hopefully at GPT in Bath. We offer 121 support as well as group sessions depending on how Dads feel comfortable engaging with us. Dads in Mind in BANES is generously funded by St Johns Foundation”