Study shows supportive workplaces protect new dads’ mental health

Oct 13, 2015

Research recently released by beyondblue into the mental health of new dads illustrates the role workplaces can play in easing employees’ transition to fatherhood.

Healthy Dads? The challenge of being a new father found that while new fatherhood is often a time of great joy and happiness, many men can feel overwhelmed by the weight of their increased family responsibilities and the difficulty finding a balance between home and work. First-time fathers are especially at risk, with 39 per cent of those surveyed experiencing high levels of psychological distress in the first year of their child’s life.

Read the report or download the summary infographic.


New dads’ experiences at work

Fathers surveyed spoke of a range of experiences in the workplace that affected their ability to cope. For some, work was a positive factor, providing an opportunity to get away from the stresses of home and to interact with and be supported by other adults. Others spoke of feeling the pressure to perform at work while sleep-deprived or distracted by issues with their baby and partner. For almost half (45 per cent), work pressure spilled into home life and made time with their children less enjoyable.


The benefits of flexible workplaces

Many men would have appreciated the opportunity to take additional time off after the birth and work more flexibly, giving them more time with their family.

While 56 per cent of fathers agreed that ‘my workplace supports me in my role’ and ‘provides the flexibility and conditions I need’, a significant number voiced their disappointment at being denied more flexible working conditions. Healthy Dads? found that blue-collar employees had the lowest access to flexible work conditions (42 per cent) after the arrival of their baby.


Four things workplaces can do to support new dads 

  1. Be aware that becoming a dad can be a stressful life transition for workers.
  2. Encourage men to take the available two weeks Government paid paternity leave.
  3. Think about what flexible working conditions are possible in your workplace, such as changing work schedules, offering temporary part-time hours, or working from home.
  4. Encourage new and expecting dads to check out beyondblue’s Dads Handbook – A guide to the first 12 months, which is available to order or download.

This research has been proudly funded with donations from The Movember Foundation.

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