“Getting help for yourself is a way of helping your baby:” Fathers’ experiences of support for mental health and parenting in the perinatal period.

The need for services targeting fathers in the perinatal period is increasingly apparent. To maximize engagement, such interventions need to be father focused, but men’s experiences and needs around support have not been adequately examined. Therefore, the aims of this qualitative study were to explore men’s experiences of seeking support for their mental health and parenting in the perinatal period, and identify their specific support needs during this time. Australian fathers (N = 20) who were expecting or parenting an infant less than 2 years of age participated in individual semistructured face-to-face or telephone interviews. Thematic content analysis was used to analyze the data. Five broad themes were explored: experiences of support, support needs, barriers to support, facilitators to support, and timing of support. Several subthemes were identified within each category, illustrating a diverse range of issues that fathers experience across the perinatal period. The findings have implications for our understanding of fathers’ help-seeking behaviors, their perinatal support needs and for the development of resources, services, and interventions aiming to engage fathers in maternity health services. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)