Expectant fathers to receive text messages from unborn child under revolutionary program
- Dads-to-be get the message on fatherhood
EXPECTANT fathers are being invited to sign up for text messages from their unborn child.
SMS4dadsSA will deliver messages such as “Talk to me about anything dad. Your words will help my brain development” and “At 20 weeks, my eyelids and eyebrows are forming and I can even blink! Not much to see here but lots to look forward to.”
The South Australian Mental Health Commission is introducing the free support service in partnership with the University of Newcastle and the Women’s and Children’s Health Network.
It is the first project to emerge from South Australia’s Mental Health Strategic Plan 2017-22.
SA Mental Health commissioner Chris Burns said SMS4dadsSA provides new fathers with information and connections to online services and support, including regular checks on their physical and mental health.
“Along the way dads receive prompts to look after themselves too, whether that’s encouragement to eat better and exercise or asking them if they are doing OK,” Mr Burns said. “If they say they’re feeling bad, they’ll get a phone call from a national peri-natal mental health help line for some additional support.
“Becoming a dad can be an exciting, rewarding and challenging time but often men don’t receive the advice they need to support themselves, their partner and most importantly, their new baby, before or after the baby is born.”
Dads completing the feasibility study in NSW were overwhelmingly positive with 92 per cent indicating that SMS4dads had helped them in their transition to becoming fathers and 83 per cent said it helped their relationship with the mother.
Proud father Raj Sarfaraz, 32, of Newton, welcomed son Zoraiz into the world on Saturday. He and wife Kashfee heard about SMS4dadsSA during antenatal classes.
Mr Sarfaraz thought it was a “really good idea” to encourage dads to be more involved.
■ The pilot project is looking for 300 dads for the trial. phone Associate Professor Richard Fletcher on 02 4921 6401 or