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Me, my family and my mental health journey…

In my younger years, I lived carefree, as we all do. I’d say when you’re young you live with less to worry about, certainly compared to what young people must cope with now! It is interesting to think that I grew up with no social media, a phone that only called and texted and I would knock on people’s doors to see if they were free. And the worrying thing… I’m not even 40 years old…  

Let’s fast forward 15 years… 

I’m stood in a maternity ward about to welcome a new life into the world, and so was born my interest in mental health and the start of my journey as a father.  

I think even at that point I was still carefree, after all, no friends of mine had ever told me of anything bad that could happen. To create a life, with the love of my life, was a happy moment. However, I soon realised that no friends of mine had said anything at that point because no one back then talked about the reality of having and raising a child, especially not as a man and as a new father. We all assumed the position of strong secure man, supporting our growing family without an ounce of worry or concern, because everything is ‘fine’. 

Now let’s just fast forward 15 days… 

Panic, worry, anxiety. My partner knows exactly what she’s doing surely.. What do I know? I am learning/progressing enough to support my new and growing family. But. Have I made the right choices…? Am I connected to this little new person…? Am I doing enough…? 

This may not be familiar to all, but for a large majority of people in my position or similar, this sensation is very familiar and almost constant. I found myself in a position where I needed support in a subject and matter, I knew nothing about. This is not to say that there is no support, but it is not just difficult to find, but admitting you need it can be hard. After all, we should just ‘man up’ and support our partners, we of course didn’t experience the trauma of labour, nor know what it’s like to be pregnant. It is true, we didn’t have to house a child for 9 months, but we were there, and we were part of it, and it can influence us too.  

I gradually found my feet… 

With my own experience in mind and under my belt, I started to access funnels of information and points of contact. I took a proactive approach, paired with a strong will to access information and talk to people. So, a bit later down the line I found myself completing my Level 1 & 2 Mental Health Awareness Courses and finally becoming a Mental Health First Aider. This process awakened my passion for this area. 

Through fundraising, I became connected with Dorset Mind and quickly became aware of what an incredible organisation they are. Dorset Mind are an incredibly proactive charity who challenge subjects and areas that aren’t talked about enough, recently including the topic of men’s and fathers’ mental health among many others.  

Fast forward to the present day…  

I have recently co-launched a brand-new Golf event, the Dorset Charity Golf Open, to raise awareness and much needed funds for this cause. I am furthering my knowledge in a wide range of mental health subjects, and I look forward to working with Dorset Mind well into the future.

Needing support? Reach out for help.  

helpandkindness.co.uk/search/dorset/dads  

dorsetmind.uk/help-and-support/   

dorpip.org.uk/ 

Home | Light on MH

Our Guest Blogger: 

Huge thanks to our guest blogger and friend of Dorset Mind, Tom Hodgson for writing so candidly about his own mental health journey and what becoming a new dad taught him about his own wellbeing.

Further Support: 

If you are struggling to cope with your mental health in general, please talk to your GP. If you’re in a crisis, treat it as an emergency. Call 999 immediately or The Samaritans, FREE on 116 123. 

Dorset Mind offers group support that can also help with your wellbeing. The group offers peer support and helps to reduce stigma by normalizing conversations about mental health. You can also check out further support for stress and mental health here. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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