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New dads just as likely to struggle as new mums

Press Release   •   Jun 15, 2016 00:01 BST

CALM/YouGov poll finds new dads just as likely to struggle as new mums
  • Poll finds 3% of new mothers and new fathers consider suicide, even momentarily, in first year of parenthood
  • Men are three times more likely than women to die by suicide (ONS)
  • 93% of the population said mothers play a "very important role" in the lives of their children, compared to 84% who said the same about fathers
  • £290 million invested in wellbeing of new and expectant mums; charity says new and expectant dads “need attention too”

Ahead of Fathers’ Day, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) has released the results of a poll showing that men are just as likely as women to struggle in the first year of parenthood.

An equal proportion (3%) of mothers and fathers reported feeling suicidal, even momentarily, in the first year of parenthood, which often involves a focus on women’s health and wellbeing. However, men are three times more likely than women to take their own life, with men accounting for 76% of all suicides in the UK (ONS).

CALM, an award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide, commissioned the research to learn more about the gender bias in how parents are perceived and supported.

Jane Powell, CEO of CALM, said: “Fathers’ Day is a great moment to consider the role dads and father figures play in children’s lives. We see from these figures that becoming a parent is just as challenging for men as it is for women. However, three times more men than women take their own lives so it’s clear dads could and should be getting more support.”

In January the government announced a £290 million investment in specialist mental health care for mums before and after having their babies.

Powell continued: “The government’s investment in the wellbeing of new and expectant mums is much needed and very welcome. CALM’s research makes it plain that new and expectant dads need attention too. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 (ONS), which means a huge number of families are losing dads way too soon.”

The charity Working with Men found gender bias in services available to fathers. CEO Shane Ryan said: “Services believe they are gender neutral, but research and practice tell us that all too often fatherhood is seen as an add-on, while motherhood is viewed as essential. Fathers themselves see services as being for mothers.”

CALM’s research reflects this difference in how people see the importance of mothers and fathers. The poll revealed that 93% of the population said mothers play a "very important role" in the lives of their children, compared to 84% who said the same about fathers.

The biggest discrepancy in how mothers’ and fathers’ roles are perceived was seen among younger people. Whilst 84% of 16-24 year olds said they thought mothers play a “very important” role in children’s lives, 73% said the same of fathers. 

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • Contact: Rachel Stephenson, Communications Director, CALM rachel@thecalmzone.net / 07793031971
  • Please refer to the Samaritans’ Media Guidelines for Reporting Suicidewhen reporting this issue
  • The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is an award-winning charity (reg. 1110621) working to prevent male suicide in the UK
  • CALM works to prevent male suicide by providing frontline services for men, promoting cultural change and campaigning for better understanding of suicide and prevention
  • CALM receives in excess of 4,000 calls to the helpline 0800 58 58 58 and webchat and 40,000 uniquewebsite visitors each monthy
  • CALM was founded in 2006, and in the first ten years of operation has helped treble awareness of male suicide in the UK
  • For more information visit https://www.thecalmzone.net/ or find us on Twitter @theCALMzone


YOUGOV POLL: PARENTING AND SUICIDALITY

Poll commissioned by CALM, June 2016. Full results: https://www.thecalmzone.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/YouGov-poll-June-2016-CALM-Parenting-and-suicidality.xlsx

  • 3% of new mothers and new fathers consider suicide, even momentarily, in first year of parenthood
  • 47% of both mothers and fathers reported feeling suicidal, even momentarily, overall
  • 93% of the population said mothers play a "very important role" in the lives of their children, compared to 84% who said the same about fathers
  • 84% of 16-24 year olds said they thought mothers play a “very important” role in children’s lives, 73% said the same of fathers


ABOUT SUICIDE AND ITS IMPACT

  • Suicide is the biggest single killer of men aged under 45 in the UK. There were 6,109 suicides in the UK in 2014 of which 76%, or 4,623, were male (NISRA, GRO, ONS 2014).
  • On average 12 men take their own life every day in the UK and men are three times more likely than women to take their own life
  • The daily cost of male suicide is estimated at £20 million per day [1]
  • The government invested £290 million invested in the wellbeing of new and expectant mums in January 2016 (Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-pledges-a-revolution-in-mental-health-treatment)


CALM’S WORK

  • A free helpline 0800 585858 and webchat (5pm – midnight daily), which are accredited, anonymous and staffed by trained professionals
  • theCALMzone.net is CALM’s website, hosting inspiring content written by men for men alongside information and support
  • The CALMzine, a free quarterly men’s lifestyle magazine to entertain, inform and inspire young men
  • Successful campaigns tackling stereotypes of masculinity and mental health problems, including #BiggerIssues and #ManDictionary
  • Bereavement support through the Support After Suicide Partnership, which is hosted by CALM

  • [1] 12 men on average take their own life every day and the cost of a single suicide in the UK is estimated at £1.67 million (Source: McDaid, D., Park, A., & Bonin, E. (2011). Population level suicide awareness training and intervention. In M. Knapp, D. McDaid & M. Parsonage (Eds.), Mental Health Promotion and Prevention: The Economic Case

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