I celebrate my third Father’s Day as a father.
For me it is a day not just to celebrate how fortunate I am for my young family, but to reflect on just how much I’ve learned about fatherhood and the issues facing fathers in all walks of life.
In particular, it is a time to reflect on my responsibility to look after not just the physical health of my two children, but to treat their mental needs as just as important a priority.
Along with Catherine and Harry I have been spending a lot of time working on issues around mental health.
What we have seen time and time again is that so many of the issues that adolescents and adults are dealing with can be linked to unresolved childhood challenges – addicts that were not getting treatment for a serious psychological condition that started in their teens; men who committed suicide who had been depressed since they were in primary school; homeless teenagers who could not confront significant emotional challenges.
While the circumstances of any one situation are unique, it is clear that many families could have been helped if they had found it easier to talk openly about mental health challenges in the home.
And I have been really disheartened to learn that even with all the progress made in recent years, many parents would still be ashamed if their children had a mental health problem.
No parents whose child needs help is a failure
Recent surveys have found that more than half of parents have never broached the topic of mental well-being with their children, and a third would feel like failures if their child needed help.
That’s so sad – no parents whose child needs help is a failure. Taking the next step and actually getting help is what matters. We know that fathers find asking for help harder than mothers.
Less than a third of fathers say they believe that the emotional needs of their children is a fundamental priority.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK