Dads – Understanding and managing mental illness

The COPMI national initiative

This information sheet provides information specifically for dads about understanding and managing mental illness.

Understanding signs and symptoms

It can take several months or longer to get a good understanding of a mental illness. With effective support and information, it may be quicker, but more importantly, you can continue to carry out your role as a dad.

It’s important for the family to know the behaviour of the person with the mental illness may change throughout recovery.

Taking time to understand as much as possible about the illness, its effects and treatment can be vital for the wellbeing of your children and the ongoing stability of your family.

What you can do

Know the signs. You and your family members are in the best position to notice any early signs of mental illness. By learning more about the symptoms, and developing a care plan, you may avoid more serious interventions like hospitalisation.

Research. Find out as much as possible about the illness and the types of support and treatments available. Do this as early as possible to gain some stability in your and your family’s life. There’s a lot of information on the internet about mental illness (see resource for links).

Talk to your GP or mental health worker to learn more about the illness, or to seek information on services and treatments

Finding treatment

With ongoing research into mental illness, there are various talk therapies, medications and treatments available to alleviate symptoms and assist in recovery.

Finding the right treatment can take time. It may be something to decide with your partner. You should tell your health care professionals, including your GP, about any alternative therapies or complementary medication you might think of using.

Practitioners vary in their experience, preferences and recommendations. By informing yourself, you can make decisions in the best interests of you, your partner and your children.

Visit the resource for more on managing mental illness.

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