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ZOOM Monday 15 July 2024 - Fathers’ needs in the perinatal period

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Presenter: Richard Pascal BSc(Hons), MPsych(Counselling

There is a growing need for new approaches to providing information and support to first-time fathers in Australia. According to recent research, first-time fathers want programs that are informative but also allow them to interact with other men about their experiences with fatherhood. However, men face significant barriers accessing in-person services during pregnancy and soon after the birth (e.g., programs are typically run during business hours only). Fathers can be more easily engaged directly on their mobile phones, although programs that also include peer interaction and support have not been adequately evaluated. In addition, engaging health professionals, particularly those in primary care settings (e.g., GPs, midwives, etc) to help refer first-time fathers to such programs has not been described in the literature. In this presentation, findings from a PhD project focused on assessing the need, feasibility and acceptability of a peer-facilitated, online, perinatal program for first-time fathers referred through primary care will be presented.

Richard Pascal is a Counselling Psychologist in Perth who now works solely on his PhD research and as a casual academic at Curtin University. He is also a father of two. His journey here started almost fifteen years ago as a psychology trainee in the child protection and juvenile justice sectors, where he observed that many fathers were absent in their children’s lives and were also often disengaged from services. He has worked clinically with children and their parents across contexts and most recently in a private practice setting. During some of that time, he also co-facilitated antenatal information sessions for first-time parents. Since becoming a father, he also experienced the joys and challenges of the fathering journey, especially in the first 12 months. His personal and professional experiences have influenced his work with children, their parents and broader systems, and were the basis for his increasing interest in men’s transition and adjustment to parenting. He has a particular research interest in the evaluation and successful implementation of perinatal
and other parenting programs. His PhD project is aimed at exploring whether there is a need for a perinatal program for first-time fathers that is delivered online and incorporates peer support as a key intervention.

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