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Acacia Family Support
Dads Struggle Too

Film & Campaign Description

Dads Struggle Too - Dads Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Raising Film

Postnatal depression/anxiety (PND/A) is far more common than you think. Whilst one in 5 new mums experience perinatal mental health problems, did you know that up to one in 10 new dads or partners are also likely to develop them.  That's a lot of people under the radar!  Any parent having a baby, at any time of life, irrespective of gender, age, culture or social background can be affected by this heart-breaking illness.  

Having a baby is often a daunting time for many parents, being a time of great challenge and extreme stress for both mum and dad. This pressure, along with a sense of struggling to navigate the unknown, general exhaustion, sleep deprivation and hormonal changes in both parents can sometimes become overwhelming, leading to anxiety and depression.  Dads often struggle with the guilt connected with these feelings at a time when they feel that they should be the strong one, happy, grateful, in control.  These thoughts/feelings can compound the situation to isolate and entrap them in a relentless downward spiral.  Very often men will feel a perceived pressure to keep a 'stiff upper lip' and just bottle everything up or resort to alcohol/drugs/increased risk taking to try to cope with their internal turmoil.

When spotted early and treated PND/A is a common, very treatable health condition and the sooner the condition is recognised and treated, the sooner things start to get better.  The tragedy is that most dads who experience PND/A fail to recognise it and just continue to try to 'push through', robbing them of one of the best times of their lives and worsening their condition.  Even many health professionals who the dad is in contact with fail to spot it and/or respond.  

This film is an important part of Acacia's ongoing work to help reduce barriers and normalise dads' perinatal mental health problems.  All the dads who are featured were asked to record themselves speaking openly about their experience.  This formed the basis for the animation.  It is being disseminated through social media to help raise awareness nationally to inform new dads/parents.  The links/film files are also available free of charge for health all professionals/services/facilities to show in waiting rooms etc.  This and other free resources are available through our website Acacia Family Support | Postnatal Depression Support Services | Dads / Partners | Acacia Dads 

This film has been made by ForMed Films CICF who specialise in storytelling through the patient voice to make animated films for medical education. In close collaboration with health professionals and patients, we bring people’s experiences, emotions and advice into focus so that our audience can relate to and understand an issue to help them to make informed choices. Directed by Hugh Cowling. https://www.formedfilms.co.uk/

Acacia Family Support

Acacia is an award winning Christian charity which was founded in 2004 by two local mums (Emma Borg and Rachel Gregory) who both experienced postnatal depression and were determined to help other families. We have been supporting families ever since. Our services are free and are available to mums and dads in the Birmingham area who are experiencing pre and postnatal depression and anxiety.

We provide, free of charge, a wide range of individual, group based and peer support services to help you recover from the symptoms associated with pre and postnatal depression and anxiety. Our services are delivered across Birmingham by a team of 40 trained volunteers and a small staff team and they include telephone befriending, individual listening/befriending, CBT based group workshops, telephone support, practical support in your own home and massage therapy for parent and baby. One of the things that makes Acacia unique is that most of our staff and volunteers have experienced maternal mental health or other mental health problems. This helps us to better understand how you are feeling and to show you that this is a temporary illness and that you can get through this.

We work closely where possible with other family members. Postnatal depression affects mums and partners, and we aim to support the entire family.  

At Acacia we have a particular focus on creating resources to raise awareness and reduce barriers in our sector for particularly vulnerable groups with regard to perinatal mental health.  Dads/partners, young parents and diverse cultural/ethnic communities are our three key target groups for this resource development work, and this awareness raising film is just one of the several free films we have produced to date.


UN Sustainable Development Goals

We align with the following UN Sustainable Development Goals: