Text-Based Program Addressing the Mental Health of Soon-to-be and New Fathers (SMS4dads): Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial

Publication Year: 
Personal Author: 
Fletcher, Richard. May, Chris. Attia, John. Garfield, Craig Franklin. Skinner, Geoff.
Type of Resource: 
Journal Article

Recent estimates indicating that approximately 10% of fathers experience Paternal Perinatal Depression (PPND) and the increasing evidence of the impact of PPND on child development suggest that identifying and assisting distressed fathers is justified on public health grounds. However, addressing new fathers’ mental health needs requires overcoming men’s infrequent contact with perinatal health services and their reluctance to seek help. Text-based interventions delivering information and support have the potential to reach such groups in order to reduce the impact of paternal perinatal distress and to improve the well-being of their children. While programs utilizing mobile phone technology have been developed for mothers, fathers have not been targeted. Since text messages can be delivered to individual mobile phones to be accessed at a time that is convenient, it may provide a novel channel for engaging with “hard-to-reach” fathers in a critical period of their parenting. (Author abstract)