Kevin Maguire: paternal mental health matters

The parent and mental health advocate talks about funding therapy for fathers and raising money to support new dads.

dad mental health club


Kevin Maguire is the founder of The New Fatherhood, a group dedicated to dads’ mental health. He recently launched The Good Dads Club, a collaboration with clothing company Far Afield to raise money to help fund therapy for fathers.

What inspired you to start The New Fatherhood?

I’d been a dad for about seven years, and after the pandemic, it felt like there was a huge conversation I was having with other dads in my life that wasn’t being reflected anywhere else. Deeper conversations about what fatherhood meant today, in a world where men were taking a much more active role in parenting, a once-in-an-epoch shift for this current generation of dads.

What changes have you seen in the men who’ve utilised it? 

One dad recently told me that he felt pressured when he became a dad that he needed to know everything right away, and The New Fatherhood taught him a new perspective—that we’re all just figuring it out as we go along, and now we’re doing it together. That camaraderie comes through amongst the dads who are regulars in the community—there’s mutual respect, genuine support, and a lot of love.

What changes have you seen in your own life since starting it?

It’s made me a better dad, because I’ve learned to slow down and notice the minutiae of parenting—those small moments that can easily pass you by, but as I’ve now written this weekly newsletter for almost three years, I’m now observing things that would have previously passed me by. It’s also brought me into the orbit of so many interesting folks—authors, illustrators, professors, creatives, dads, mums—that have widened my own worldview.

Tell us about the Far Afield collaboration. Why?

Mark and Chris, the co-founders of Far Afield, have been friends for over two decades now. We worked together to develop the idea of the Good Dads Club collection, with 100% of the profits going to a therapy fund to help dads get access to mental health support. So the whole thing has fatherhood baked into it’s DNA: by dads, for dads, to help dads.

If you were Prime Minister tomorrow (or we guess Chief Medical Officer too!), what immediate changes would you put in place to help male mental health in the UK?

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) is a tool developed in the UK, and now used across the world, to screen new mums for post-natal depression. It’s a series of ten questions that are asked to new mums 2-3 times within the first year, and has been used for almost 35 years here. Studies have shown that if dads were asked these same questions then we’d be able to catch a significant number of cases of paternal post-natal depression, and allow the approximately 10% of new dads who suffer from this illness to get the help they need.

Read more:

5 best Eighties films about dads

The podcast company helping to make memories

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