Coast man launches national event supporting new fathers
THOUSANDS of dads across the country took to the streets Sunday morning with their prams for a world-first national event for new and expectant fathers, the brainchild of a Mt Coolum father.
A Noosa event was one of 20 Man With a Pram walks hosted across the country this Father's Day to raise awareness of the need for greater support for new dads.
At Hastings St, a group of dedicated dads, babies and toddlers started their journey at Noosa Beach House Bar, walking side-by-side across town.
Not-for-profit community organisations Dad's Group Inc and Man With a Pram were founded by father-of-three Thomas Docking after he experienced the lack of education and support available to him as a new father.
Mr Docking, from Mt Coolum, said research conducted by DGI across five years showed new men felt isolated and lost their regular social groups when they became fathers.
"That leaves them in a vulnerable position which can lead to depression and anxiety or even suicide which has devastating effects on a community," Mr Docking said.
"As women enter motherhood, they have support groups easily accessible to them but the current health system doesn't lean towards new fathers in the same way.
"I'd like to see policies change so there are more family support services available to new and expectant fathers."
Mr Docking said while inclusive support groups existed, where men could join their partners, males weren't as likely to speak about their feelings as they would in a father-specific support group.
The Noosa event began with snacks provided by Man With a Pram's major food partner, Bakers Delight.
Bakers Delight joint CEO and dad David Christie said he was proud to support DGI, an organisation he believed played an important role in communities across the country.
"Providing fathers with a place they can go to find support and guidance within their local community is so important for new families and we couldn't be happier to support," Mr Christie said.
DGI has created more than 100 "dad groups" across Australia, which work hard to provide guidance and support for young and expectant fathers.
These groups enable thousands of Australian dads to connect with their children and other local fathers, assisting those who may be feeling lonely, anxious or overwhelmed.
Visit dadsgroup.org to find your local group.