Dads Rock, the charity which aims to inspire dads and families to improve outcomes for children, is helping NHS Lothian to launch a weekly online support space. The online sessions are for dads who have babies in hospital neonatal or special baby care.

The two year long programme will run every Tuesday evening with a member of the Dads Rock team, the MNPI clinical psychology team and will be regularly evaluated. The aim is to transform the support that new dads receive while their baby is so unwell.

Katy Ruggeri, Associate Director of Midwifery at NHS Lothian, said:“Understandably, in the Neonatal Unit, mums and dads can feel very distressed at this time. Our staff regularly go above and beyond for their patients and new parents and it’s really clear that everyone wants what is best for them.

“I’m really proud of the fact that NHS Lothian and Dads Rock are working collaboratively to offer a dedicated support service for neonatal dads and champion the right support for fathers who need it. I would encourage new dads who feel they would benefit from the service to speak to the Neonatal team or the Dads Rock charity.”

Thomas Lynch, Service manager and co-founder of Dads Rock, said: “We’re thrilled to be working alongside NHS Lothian to deliver this new weekly group for Dads to come together.

“Being in the Neonatal unit can be very overwhelming, and we all need time to look after ourselves. That’s exactly what this Dads group is about. It’s brilliant to have this in place for new Dads, giving them the right support from the start”. 

Scott Parker, 30, a father who spent three weeks in the neonatal unit with his daughter three years ago, has expressed his support for the new service.

He said: “I wished there had been a group for Dads when I was in the unit. The staff were amazing, but it’s still a scary time to see your child in there. Speaking to other Dads who were going through the same experiences would have really helped me. I’m so glad this service is in place now.”

The new support service was developed due to a recognition of the gap in support for dads in terms of specific supports available and the uptake of the supports that are in place in the neonatal unit.

In order to access the support service, Dads will be given a QR code to link to the Dads Rock Neonatal Dads website page and the contact details for the Dads Rock charity. The Dads Rock team will also share a link to the NHS Lothian approved video conferencing site as well as the log-in details with potential participants.

The new service is an opt-in support, and anyone can give information about the support available to a potential dad by directing them to the leaflets provided by Dads Rock, or to the Dads Rock website.

For more information about the Neonatal Dads support service, please visit the website here: Neonatal Dads — Dads Rock.

Peer support for mums who are seeking a perinatal mental health group in the Lothians is also available via Juno, a third sector charity.  

The service has been developed with support from a small grant awarded by the Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation.