New Dads’ Mental Health a Focus of Research Grant

New Dads’ Mental Health a Focus of Research Grant


Tweddle would like to congratulate A.Prof Rebecca Giallo from MRCI for the recently awarded Australian Government MRFF Million Minds Mission grant which will deliver collaborative research into suicide prevention among new dads and a rigorous evaluation of Tweddle’s Working Out Dads (WOD) program.

The research undertaken will be a randomised controlled trial (RCT). 280 dads will be recruited then randomised into WODs as a group intervention or usual care. There will be a total of 14 WODs groups

WOD is an innovative group-based intervention for fathers of young children (0-4 years) that aims to reduce fathers’ mental health difficulties, promote healthy lifestyle behaviours, and strengthen family relationships. It is a 6-week manualised program (ten dads per group) combining 1 hour of facilitated discussion by a male facilitator, a 30-minute facilitated gym workout and encouraging text messages for ten weeks. Designed to overcome the common barrier of stigma, the sessions are provided in a gym.

The curriculum addresses common challenges experienced by fathers of young children including changes in adult relationship, managing work and family and identifying and managing stress.

In 2015 Tweddle developed the Working Out Dads pilot program in response to research and to address a gap in early intervention health options for dads of children 0-4. Five subsequent years of Working Out Dads evaluation delivered by A/Prof Rebecca Giallo and Tweddle has demonstrated substantial outcomes.

These include reductions in depressive and stress symptoms and an increase in parenting confidence of dads participating in the program.

One in ten Australian fathers experience poor health in the critical early years of their children’s lives as well as poor physical health, depression, moderate to harmful alcohol consumption, smoking and obesity.

Fathers’ mental health problems have been associated with partner mental health difficulties, couple relationship difficulties and interparental conflict, low parenting confidence and harsh/hostile parenting.  The cost of fathers’ postnatal depression includes reduced employment productivity, short- and long-term adverse effects on child health, family conflict, violence and family breakdown.

The research team are highly acclaimed. Giallo’s pioneering research into fathers’ perinatal mental health and suicide risk has led to the prioritisation of fathers’ in the National Men’s Health Strategy and NHMRC approved Perinatal Mental Health Clinical Practice Guideline. Cooklin and Leach have been instrumental in influencing workplace policy and practices to address fathers’ poor mental health. Nicholson has advocated for father-inclusive practices in the early childhood sector. Garfield is overseeing the first ever implementation of the Pregnancy Risk and Assessment Monitoring System specifically for fathers in the United States and Oldenburg is a global leader in implementation and health services research.

Tweddle is thrilled to be partnering with A/Prof Rebecca Giallo and the team on this important partnership. We commend Greg Hunt MP’s announcement and the Australian Government’s 20 million mental health and suicide prevention research funding.



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