11 August 2020

Online dads groups are here to help during COVID-19

How 'Dads Group' is helping Aussie dads connect during isolation
Mental Health | Where The Money Goes

Dads Group, a men’s health initiative backed by Movember, is encouraging new dads to get online and connect during COVID-19.
The only group of its kind in Australia, Dads Group was founded by Tom Docking and his wife, Kate, when the couple found there was a gap in support options for men approaching fatherhood for the first time.
"I went looking for support programs for expectant and new dads and there was nothing. There just didn’t seem to be any groups where new dads could get together and hang out,” said Tom.
The group helps new fathers connect with other dads to chat about common parenting issues and discuss their insecurities, fears, stresses and wins, in a safe space.
Research conducted by Sunshine Coast University researcher and clinical psychologist Mary Gregory highlighted the importance of Dads Group. It found that a third of dads who were not involved with the group had no idea where they could go for support, while only 3% of dads involved with Dads Group felt this way.
Thanks to the support from our legendary fundraisers and donors, Movember has been able to contribute funds to help Dads Group scale up and reach hundreds of new fathers across Australia, both in person and online.

"We need to get the word out that we are here, and we can help. There are new dads out there that don’t know about our group and would really psychologically benefit from being a part of it."

Dads Group has since spread across the country with positive results and engagement,” said Tom.
“However, the social impact of COVID-19 this year has disrupted the opportunity for face-to-face meetings in many parts of the country.
“It is concerning because although we have adapted our meetings to a daily online platform, new dads aren’t showing up in the numbers we’d expect or hope for.”
During lockdown, Tom is calling out for more men to jump online and get involved with Dads Group digitally, through their daily virtual sessions.
“COVID has made meeting up in person harder, but the daily online group is a fantastic option for dads who are isolated or perhaps can’t commit to a meet up because of their situation."
"We need to get the word out that we are here, and we can help. There are new dads out there that don’t know about our group and would really psychologically benefit from being a part of it.

THE dads group community IN ACTION BEFORE LOCKDOWN.

Brendan Maher, Movember’s Global Director of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, echoes the importance of staying connected and applauds Dads Group for offering an online version of their program during the pandemic.

“Many of us have had to re-think how to keep working and stay connected when COVID-19 turned things upside down,” said Brendan.
Dads Group was no different and quickly moved from face-to-face catch-ups to online forums. We believe it’s important for these new dads to keep that connection going where possible. While face-to face meetings are preferable to many dads, the online group can still provide important social benefits.”

Tom initially pitched the idea of Dads Group to Movember as part of the Movember Social Innovators Challenge.
The aim of the Movember Social Innovators Challenge was to support the development of innovative ideas that could increase social connections and feelings of belongingness in men; particularly those at greater risk of social isolation, like new fathers, unemployed and divorced men and men of low-socio economic status.
To get involved with Dads Group, visit dadsgroup.org or head to the Dads Group Facebook page to join a daily session.
If you, or someone you know, is feeling low, don't hesitate to reach out for support using these local support resources.