Father’s Day can be so tough for so many reasons. Maybe you don’t have a Dad around, or would prefer to not have the Dad who is. Maybe you’d like to be a Dad and can’t, or were a Dad but aren’t anymore. Maybe you’re estranged, maybe they died, maybe you grew up in care – we don’t need to know the reason to know that it can be hard. This time of year can feel so isolating, and we want you to know that you’re not alone. That whatever you’re going through there are people and places you can go to to get help.
For help with estrangement
Check out charity Stand Alone who do lots of incredible work with estranged adults. With resources, blog posts and a podcast, they’re here to raise awareness and support you through your journey. Find strength in the accounts of others – we spoke with the incredible Sophie Williams about being estranged from her whole family, and our own Robyn recorded a whole IGTV about her own experiences.
For help with bereavement
There are so many places a person can go to find help through a bereavement, and only you’ll know what works best for you. If you find sharing helps, you could try meetups through organisations like Talk About Loss. Or maybe you like to listen and learn, in which case podcasts like Bereavement Room and Grief Cast might be for you. Or if you prefer for the help to come to you, you could try signing up to one of Alicia Forneret‘s newsletters. Look to literature like Grief is the Thing with Feathers, or thought-provokers like Notes on Grief, and – ahem – our own book, which you’ll have to wait until September to get. And for specific help when you’re bereaved through a suicide, try the SOBS helpline and website for support.
For help when you grew up in care
If you grew up in care, CoraamBAAF have a whole host of helpful resources listed on their website, from places to track down birth parents, to finding mental health support. And for young adults, The Careleavers Foundation is on-hand to offer support and advice. If a little reading’s more your thing, try Healing for Adults Who Grew Up In Adoption or Fostercare, which comes highly recommended by a few different organisations.
For help with the loss of a child
If you’re a Dad who lost a child, there are some places you can go for support and solidarity. Try this list of resources from The Miscarriage Association, read the moving personal account in The Year of Magical Thinking Or go and listen to this unfathomably lovely thing Rob Delaney recorded about losing his son.
For help with infertility challenges
There’s historically been a deafening lack of support for men living with infertility, but things are changing for the better. Comedian Rhod Gilbert set up HIMfertility to offer information, support and a safe space for men to learn more and open up their own conversations. There’s a Facebook group here dedicated to men’s fertility, and a lot of great information for men and women on Fertility Network UK’s website.
For help with mental health
If for whatever reason you could use some support with your mental health, it’s always a good idea to find it. You could look to organisations like Black Minds Matter, find a charity through the NHS or have a look through the directory of practitioners on the BACP website. Here, you can scroll through by location, by your needs or by the sort of therapy you want. Make a list of a few who sound good and try to arrange a call with them, if that feels manageable – it’s about finding the best fit for you, whether that’s the person with the most qualifications, or the one who just feels right. Lots of practitioners are doing zoom or phone sessions post-covid, so it’s a great chance to dip your toe in the water from home, if needs be.
If you feel bad, speak to somebody
The main thing to know is that if you’re feeling bad, you’re not alone. There are people and support networks out there who can and want to help. And if things feel really bad and you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the Samaritans and talk, just talk. It doesn’t matter what you say – just get somebody who’s listening on the phone and let them steer the ship for a while. You’re always worth it.