So I have been talking about my struggles with PND for over a year and what a whirlwind year it has been. I have been interviewed for Both the BBC and ITV. Had my story written in two magazines and one national paper. Guessed blogged on a number of different blogs and worked along some national organisations as well as be on national and local radio. I know that might sound like I am raising myself up on a pedastool and trying to say look how good I am. In truth I hate it, I would rather not have done all these interviews and spoke about what happened to me and what I am doing to change things. Every time I stand in front of a camera or sit at a mic I have to relive one of the most painful times of my life. I have to admit how I felt when Elizabeth was born and how I could not cope with being a dad and how it drove me to near destruction. The positive is I also get to talk about how I improved and raise the point that the health system is failing to support the needs of dads. When I do these interviews I open up old wounds. More worrying in this day and age, I open myself up to attack from both men and women who don’t think men can have PND or that we should suffer in silence and not be talking about our feelings. For every 100 good positive messages I get at least 20 negative and abusive messages.
When I tell people all this how each interview is draining and forces me to relive the worst time in my life and how I open my self up to abuse, I get asked why do I do that? Why not put it all in a box and move on?
The answer is simple 1 in 10 men suffer some sort of mental heath illness following the birth of there children and that figure is only based on those who have spoke out and seek help. So many dads suffer in silence. There is a stigma that needs breaking and someone has to be the one to break that stigma. The NHS is failing to support dads after they have had babies. They are failing to recognise the importance of dads and their mental heath in the life of there children. With so much focus on mum (and rightly so) but no focus on Dad.. how about we focus on the family and both parents as individuals. With up to 21 fathers committing suicide each week leaving 1,092 kids with out dads and in general dads are 5 times more likely to commit suicide than mums. More needs to be done to get dads talking. And if me doing all these interviews gets people talking then I will happily take the stigma take the abuse and keep opening old wounds. I get people talking, help new dads and men in general realise its OK to not be be OK and encourage them to go the doctors and get help. If my speaking out helps even one dad its worth it and I will keep speaking out until the stigma around mental health is broken and men are getting the help they need.
That said here is my latest interview on Radio City talk over here in Liverpool. I have to admit I enjoyed doing this one, I always love going up the tower and seeing the views and I have wanted to get in to these studios for years and the views of my city are amazing.