Mental health refers to the state of your psychological and emotional well-being. This includes how you feel, think, behave, and form relationships with other people – including your children. When your mental health suffers, you may experience symptoms like anxiety, depression, mood swings, or trouble controlling anger. These symptoms affect how you talk to your kids, how often you play with them, and how much patience you have when tantrums happen. Luckily, there are many things dads can do to improve and manage their mental health.
Tips & Best Practices
- Understand mental health basics. What is mental health? How common are mental health conditions? What causes mental illness? This website breaks down the basics and includes a quiz you can take on the myths and facts of mental health.
- Know the warning signs. At times, we all worry, get nervous, or feel sad. When are these feelings normal, and when should you seek help? In this blogpost the National Alliance on Mental Illness provides a list of common signs of mental illness and additional resources for getting help and finding treatment.
- Understand Trauma-Informed Programming. Do you work with fathers experiencing post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions? If so, this webinar is for you. This webinar discusses tips on how to engage fathers in conversations about mental health, develop referral networks for culturally competent providers, and more.
I recently joined my colleagues Frank Blaney and Bridgid Conn, along with Joe Jones from the Center for Urban Families and Tiffaney Parkman from the University of Baltimore, in an NRFC webinar discussion about fathers and mental health.
Research shows that one in five adult Americans will experience a mental health problem this year, but only 38 percent are likely to get treatment. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study demonstrated that most people have experienced some traumatic stressors during childhood, which can have long-lasting negative effects on physical and mental health throughout adulthood.
What is mental health?
Mental health is an important part of overall health and well-being. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
I think I’m experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. Who should I talk to?
If you think you are experiencing a mental health condition, a good first step is to schedule an appointment with your regular doctor. There, you can explain any symptoms you may be having, and they can make a referral to a psychologist or therapist.
If I get treated for a mental health condition does that mean I’ll have to take medication?
Not necessarily. Everyone is different. Treatment for mental health conditions can involve medication, counseling, or group therapy. A psychologist and psychiatrist can come up with a plan that works for you.