Category / Research communication

Welcome to the Bournemouth University Research Staff Association (RSA)

Welcome to the Bournemouth University Research Staff Association (RSA)

 

 

What is it?

An association run by BU researchers from all faculties who want to make BU a great place to work and do research. We aim to ensure that researchers are supported to realise their full potential and to develop and produce research of the highest quality. (There are Research Staff Associations throughout UK universities and one of our BU RSA representatives is also a member of the UK RSA).

 

Who is it for?

Almost everyone! Postdoctoral researchers, research fellows, research assistants as well as anyone else who is actively engaged in research (or planning to be): postgraduate researchers; staff on teaching and research, or teaching contracts; clinicians; professional support staff; technicians.

 

What are our aims?

To help make BU a great place for researchers to work and progress in their careers.

 

To support BU researchers to produce excellent research by enabling them to thrive, personally and professionally through informal peer support / friendship with other researchers and encouraging BU to provide

      • a well-designed induction
      • a caring and helpful mentor
      • support to develop research and professional skills
      • increased job security
      • a university culture of inclusion, kindness, care, and support
      • opportunities to network, collaborate, share, and learn

 

How do we do that?

We support researchers through:

 

  1. Signposting you to the BU teams or individuals who can help you with issues such as: employment and contracts, work conditions, fairness and equity, discrimination, unions, professional development, careers advice, support for mental health and well-being.

 

  1. Offering peer support – opportunities to meet, socialise, network, share ideas, and collaborate with researchers from different faculties. We run informal online get-togethers and coffee mornings in faculties. We are also developing a series of university-wide events (in partnership with the Early Career Network) on topics such as career progression, funding, wellbeing.

 

  1. Representing you – raising concerns, lobbying, and advocating for researchers at the:
    • Research Concordat Steering Group. This group is responsible for helping BU translate the ideals of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers into improved researcher career development and effective policies.  The steering group can then highlight responsibilities across university departments from line managers and HR to the Vice Chancellor and the Executive Team.

 

    • Faculty Research & Professional Practice Committees (FRPPC) – where we can highlight specific initiatives and the vital role that line managers and senior academics play in facilitating the development of researchers in their department.

 

    • University Research & Professional Practice Committee (URPPC) where we can share the combined voice and experiences of research staff to shape the development of University wide research-based policy and procedures.

 

What do we need to succeed? 

You!  We need to know what the important issues, concerns, challenges, and aspirations of BU researchers are. We can then try to provide informative sessions which address the issues that are important to you, advocate for change – as well as letting BU know when they are getting it right! We would also like to get to know you and learn from your experiences – doing research can be lonely and being in contact with other researchers enriches our day.

 

When does the RSA meet?

The RSA meets regularly throughout the year. Everyone is welcome to attend or share issues that you would like raised with your faculty rep

 

How do I get involved/get in touch with the RSA representative for my faculty?

 

Your current reps are:

 

Faculty of Health & Social Science                         Sophia Amenyah samenyah@bournemouth.ac.uk

                                                                                             Gladys Yinusa yinusagg@bournemouth.ac.uk

 Faculty of Science & Technology                           Kimberley Davies daviesk@bournemouth.ac.uk

                                                                                            Sarah Elliott  selliott@bournemouth.ac.uk 

Faculty of Media & Communications                   No representative at present.

BU Business School:                                                   No representative at present.

 

 

 

Institutional Reps:                                                      Chaoguang Wang   wangc@bournemouth.ac.uk

                                                                                            Anastasia Vayona   avayona@bournemouth.ac.uk

                                                                                           Rejoice Chipuriro          rchipuriro@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

Academic Reps:                                                           BUBS-Rafaelle Nicholson rnicholson@bournemouth.ac.uk

                                                                                           BUBS-Julia Hibbert jhibbert@bournemouth.ac.uk

                                                                                           FST-Derek Pitman dpitman@bournemouth.ac.uk

                                                                                           FST-Michelle Heward mheward@bournemouth.ac.uk

                                                                                          FST-Ruijie Wang rwang3@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

 

BU Professor’s research contributes to House of Commons report

Written evidence provided to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee by Prof. Ann Luce, FMC, has been cited in the “Progress in improving NHS mental health services” report released today. Luce’s research around suicide risk to NHS mental health staff and the impact that has on care, served as the underpinning evidence for one of six recommendations the committee has made.

The Public Accounts Committee heard concerning evidence of increasing pressures on NHS mental health staff at a time of spiking demand. In the report published today, it warns that increased workload is leading to burnout for remaining staff, which contributes to a higher rate of staff turnover and a resulting vicious cycle of more staff shortages.

17,000 staff (12%) left the NHS mental health workforce in 2021-22, up from pre-pandemic levels of around 14,000 a year. Those citing work-life balance reasons for leaving increased from 4% in 2012-13 to 14% in 2021-22, and the percentage of days lost from the workforce due to psychiatric reasons doubled in a decade. NHS England told the PAC that, in common with all NHS staff, mental health problems are one of the biggest drivers of sickness among staff.

Staff shortages are holding back NHS mental health services as a whole from improving and expanding. The PAC calls on the NHS to address the fact that staff increases are being outpaced by the rise in demand for services. The NHS mental health workforce increased by 22% overall between 2016-17 and 2021-22, while referrals to these services increased by 44% over the same period. The PAC’s inquiry found that staff vacancy rates in acute inpatient mental health services are at approximately 20% or more.

Good data and information is necessary to manage and improve NHS services, as well as to deliver them impactfully and cost-effectively. The Government and NHS England (NHSE) acknowledged to the PAC that mental health services are lagging behind physical services in this area to a particularly concerning degree. Of 29 integrated care boards surveyed by the National Audit Office, only four said they had all or most of the data they needed to assess patient and user experiences, and none of them felt this in relation to patient outcomes.

Another area of particular concern for the PAC is a continuing lack of progress in the area of treating mental health services with equal priority as physical services – or ‘parity of esteem’. Despite the Government setting this ambition in 2011, and the PAC itself calling four years ago for a clear definition of how to measure progress to get there – a recommendation accepted at the time by the Government – there is still no such clear definition.

Dame Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “The findings of our inquiry must serve as a warning to the Government that mental health is still in danger of not being treated with the same urgent priority as physical health. NHS mental health staff deal with some of the most challenging care needs there are. Staff in this space deserve not just our heartfelt gratitude for the job they do, but concrete support and training to work as part of well-staffed workplaces. Our report warns of a vicious cycle, in which staff shortages and morale both worsen in self-reinforcing parallel.

“The short-term actions being taken by the Government and NHS England to tackle ongoing pressure are welcome. But these numbers are still going in the wrong direction, as demand for care well outpaces the supply of staff to provide it. The Government must act to pull services out of this doom loop. Invaluable care for some of our most vulnerable cannot and must not be provided at the expense of the welfare of the workforce carrying it out.”

NHS England and the Government now have six months to respond.

________________________________________

If you are interested in submitting written evidence based on your research to a Parliamentary Inquiry, please reach out to impact@bournemouth.ac.uk who can help you with putting together your submission. Contributions to inquires are a good pathway to impact for impact case studies for the REF, and can lead to policy change and influence.

BU case study included in knowledge exchange repository shared by Knowledge Exchange Concordat

The Knowledge Exchange Concordat (KEC) Advisory and Operational group has produced a repository of resources to support higher education providers improve their knowledge exchange (KE) practices.

The repository has been created in partnership with the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) and features good and innovative practice in knowledge exchange across eight different KE principles, including a set of toolkits and guides available for use by HE institutions.

BU’s IP Policy, Research Intellectual Property Strategy and Evaluation Committee (RIPSEC), and the IP commercialisation management framework are among the case studies being shared. Our approach was chosen specifically as an example of good practice and innovation in the sector.

The repository, which includes a set of knowledge exchange toolkits and guides available for use by higher education institutions, will be launched at the KEC Repository of Good Practice Launch event tomorrow (20th July 2023).

The event will be hosted on Zoom between 10am-11:15am. Lesley Hutchins, Research Commercialisation Manager at BU, will be a guest speaker at the event. You can register for the event on the Knowledge Exchange Concordat website.

Read the BU case study – Research and Intellectual Property (IP) Policy

Grant of international patent for invention at BU

It comes as a great news for both BU and academic staff that a major international patent has been granted by China National Intellectual Property Administration who have confirmed that it will record the grant of the patent right in the Patent Register, issue the patent certificate for invention, and announce the grant. The patent right shall take effect from the date of announcement, July 4, 2023.

This is a predictive and prognostic invention as a remote probing system to monitor corrosion of conductive or nonconductive coatings and subsurface degradation.

The EIS measurement is resistant to interference and has a high corrosion resolution which produces stable and reliable results. Protective properties of a coating can be learned from an impedance spectroscopy obtained via the measurement that reflects changes in the coating and at the interface of coating-substrate system.

Project lead Professor Zulfiqar Khan has congratulated their co-inventors Dr Mian Hammad Nazir and Dr Adil Saeed for their hard work, dedication and passion over the years. This is the result of years of collective work spanning over several research programmes, Professor Khan added.

This invention will enable, a diverse portfolio of industry sectors and applications in aerospace, automotive industry, shipyards, petrochemical, process, infrastructures, high value assets including Reinforced Concrete (RC) elements of marine structures such as piled jetties, marine installation, gas pipelines, motorways structures and mobile assets such as large vehicles, to monitor, predict and prognose a complex failure initiation and propagation mechanism in real time. This will result in significant cost savings, reducing downtime, enhancing reliability and service life.

Further details and media coverage with a short video about the background of work is available here.

Keywords: Condition monitoring, corrosion, coating, sensor, impedance, electrochemical, spectroscopy, materials, composites.

Ageing and Dementia Research Forum – 29th June – Digital Health Coaching DIALOR

Details of the next ADRC ageing and dementia research forum are listed below. The forum is an opportunity for staff and PhD students to get together to chat about research and share experiences in a safe and supportive environment. Specific topics are discussed but there is also time for open discussion to mull over aspects of research such as project ideas and planning, ethical considerations and patient and public involvement.

Date, time, and campus Research areas
29th June 2023

15.00-15.45

BG601, Bournemouth Gateway

Lansdowne Campus

‘Digital health coaching for older people with frailty in Wessex (DIALOR) ’Rachel Christie

If you would like to discuss your research ideas at a future meeting, please email Michelle mheward@bournemouth.ac.uk

We look forward to seeing you there.

Ageing and Dementia Research Centre

Conversation article: Modest fashion – why the UK high street still offers women too little choice

Dr Samreen Ashraf writes for The Conversation about the availability of modest fashion in the UK…

Modest fashion: why the UK high street still offers women too little choice

Samreen Ashraf, Bournemouth University

When Indonesian designer Vivi Zubedi made her debut on the international stage during the New York Fashion Week in 2018, critics gushed at the elevated abayas her models sported. Her high fashion takes on the traditional Muslim full-length garment married velvet and pearls with leather jackets, baseball caps and batik prints.

Some hailed designers catering thus to women wanting to dress modestly as fashion’s “exciting new frontier”. The market for modest fashion was hailed as being on the rise.

Modest fashion encompasses clothing that covers the body in a conservative manner, often in adherence to religious and cultural beliefs and identities. Though most often referred to in a Muslim context, it is not actually limited to one particular region or religion. Instead it is a concept that has been embraced by people of all kinds of backgrounds across the world.

The research my colleagues and I have conducted looks at female Muslim identities and how they are considered – or not – within the UK fashion industry. Despite the fact that the worldwide Muslim fashion market is projected to be worth $311 billion (£251 billion) by 2024, we have found that many women in the UK still have very little choice within their price bracket.

Not enough choice

Between 2017 and 2021, we conducted interviews with 23 Muslim women in the UK, from seven different ethnicities or cultural heritages: Bangladeshi, British, Indian, Iranian, Nigerian, Turkish and Tunisian. We wanted to understand how, as Muslims living in a non-Muslim majority country, their religious identity influenced their fashion consumption.

To our minds, the UK represented an ideal setting for this kind of study, because it has a strong retail sector and liberal values which encourage individual choice. It is also widely considered to be diverse and multicultural.

And yet, the women we spoke to still struggle to find clothing options they can afford, that they feel are appropriate and support them in adhering to their beliefs. As one interviewee, Izma, put it:

I want to wear something within my modest limits but it is so hard to find such clothes. I wish they start making fashionable clothes which are fully covered. Sometimes I see these modest lines, but these are out of my reach.

For these women, being fashionable is important and so is their Muslim identity. But they are still stuck with having to choose between the two.

You see, I don’t want to wear anything revealing because I am Muslim, but also because I come from a conservative family and certain background and ‘modern’ clothes don’t go well with my family image.

Expressing identity

Many non-Muslim women embrace some degree of modesty in their clothing, in a bid to express personal style while maintaining a more conservative appearance. As the writer Sarah Al-Zaher has said:

Modest fashion is for people who just choose to show less. It is also for people who just prefer the ‘relaxed’ or the ‘oversized look’.

In the Muslim world, modest fashion plays a central role in projecting your religious identity. Al-Zaher puts it plainly:

It is not just a short-lived fad; it is a need because it is something that is embedded in our mindset and beliefs that will remain with us for life.

Back in 2018, when London followed New York in showcasing modest runway options, pundits assumed the buzz would push modest fashion into the mainstream and boost the market beyond high-end fashion. However, it still only receives temporary attention from designers and retailers alike.

By 2030, the Muslim population will represent over 25% of the global population. It is growing at twice the rate of the non-Muslim population.

This means that fashion brands have a great opportunity to bridge the gap between fashion and modesty, and properly cater to what is clearly a growing market demographic. However, the gap persists. In 2021, journalist Yasmin Khatun Dewan highlighted the example of Halima Aden, the “trailblazing hijab-wearing Muslim model” who had been hailed in 2017 as an “an icon of inclusivity” only to quit the fashion industry altogether four years later because, as she put it, she had compromised who she was in order to fit in.

Muslim women – and those for whom modesty is a guiding principle in how they choose to dress themselves – shouldn’t have to compromise. They deserve as broad a range of fashion choices as any other. As Ana, another woman I interviewed in 2021, said:

Just because you are Muslim doesn’t mean you can’t have fun wearing what you want to wear. You can still wear really pretty dresses if it’s long, or long tunics or whatever, it can still be fun. It doesn’t have to be just black and drape.The Conversation

Samreen Ashraf, Principal Academic in Marketing, Bournemouth University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Dr Heidi Singleton receives Sigma Europe’s Emerging Nurse Researcher 2023 Award

Congratulations to Dr Heidi Singleton, who has received Sigma Europe’s Emerging Nurse Researcher 2023 Award.

Heidi Singleton holding a cardboard Google glasses device

Dr Heidi Singleton

The Sigma Emerging Nurse Researcher Award recognises early career nurse researchers whose work has significantly influenced the nursing profession. Dr Singleton won this award for her work combining evidence-based practice with innovative ideas to adapt to the changing nursing landscape.

During her PhD at BU, she researched how technology can improve student nurses’ understanding of complex concepts, such as diabetes. Her work focused on blending real-world practice methods with emerging technologies to develop nursing education in line with how the world is developing and changing.

Other research areas Dr Singleton has explored include how technology can be used therapeutically, for service improvement, mental health and anxiety – especially in children and young people. This includes the psychological impacts of eczema, innovation in nurse-led skin cancer clinics, improving early intervention services, and vaccination and hospital appointment anxiety.

Dr Singleton said: “I feel very honoured to win the Emerging Nurse Researcher Award for the Europe Region. As a new academic, I have looked up to seniors who have demonstrated excellence in their research and publications. It’s a privilege to share my research and that of my brilliant team with the world. Hopefully, this can be a good building block for my future research plans.”

Violence Against and Women and Girls: Social Justice in Action Conference – 29 June

A chance to showcase your Research

Dear all,

We are holding a conference at BU: Violence Against and Women and Girls: Social Justice in Action Conference – Event Date: 29 June at BGB, Lansdowne.

The Soroptimist International Bournemouth and Bournemouth University are facilitating a conference with the focus upon Violence Against Women and Girls. The aim of the day is to raise awareness of issues relating to violence against women and girls, bringing together diverse professionals, NGOs, charities and interested others to share knowledge, explore limitations and seek solutions to sustain social justice. This event is open to all those who are engaged in working with Violence Against Women and Girls and those who care about reducing this global injustice.

At the event in the lunch room we will be running an automated PowerPoint presentation, where we hope to showcase BU research that is relevant to the professional audience.

This is open to all BU academics and PGRs – and all you need is for your research to be relevant to the intended audience it does not have to be focused on the main conference topic.

If you would like to showcase your work to this audience, please send a PowerPoint slide to Orlanda Harvey by 26th June 2023.

Please do pass this opportunity on to colleagues across the University


Conversation article: What the right gets wrong about Adam Smith

Dr Conor O’Kane writes for The Conversation about the Scottish philosopher and economist Adam Smith…

What the right gets wrong about Adam Smith

John Kay, 1790.
Wikiwand

Conor O’Kane, Bournemouth University

What to make of Adam Smith? You might have thought we would have straightened this out, given that he only ever wrote two books and it’s been 300 years since he was born. But no. Everyone wants to claim the Scottish philosopher and economist as one of their own. With the exception of Jesus, it’s hard to think of anyone who attracts such radically different interpretations.

Part of the problem is that we actually know very little about the man. Smith oversaw the burning of all his unpublished writings as he lay on his death bed – a common practice at the time, but not much help in settling endless arguments.

What we know is that he was born in the town of Kirkcaldy on the east coast of Scotland. His father was a judge who died just before he was born. Smith seems to have been a very scholarly child, rarely seen without a book about his person.

One early experience that seems to have affected him concerned the town market. Certain landowners were exempt from Kirkcaldy’s bridge tolls and market stall charges due to the town’s status as a royal burgh. This gave them a competitive advantage over their competitors, which did not sit well with the young Smith.

He left his mother at the age of 14 to study moral philosophy at the University of Glasgow, before completing his postgraduate studies in metaphysics at Balliol College Oxford. Thereafter he went on to spend his life studying, teaching and writing in the fields of philosophy, theology, astronomy, ethics, jurisprudence and political economy. Most of his career was spent as an academic in Edinburgh and Glasgow, though there were also stints as a private tutor in France and London.

The Wealth of Nations

The two books that Smith published in his lifetime are The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and his more widely known, An Enquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). The latter, a rambling 700-page text published over two volumes, was 17 years in the making.

Original edition of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations
What it’s all about.

The dominant economic ideology of the time was known as mercantilism. It viewed economic value simply in terms of the amount of gold that a country had to buy the goods it needs. It gave little consideration to how goods were produced – either the physical inputs or the human motivation.

But for Smith, motivation was at the heart of economic behaviour. He saw it as an all-purpose lubricant that delivers mutual benefit for all:

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.

Smith’s observations about how the division of labour can be organised to increase productivity remains one of his most enduring contributions to economics. Improving productivity is still seen as the holy grail for countries getting richer. Larry Fink, head of investment giant BlackRock, has only just been arguing that artificial intelligence could improve productivity, for instance.

The battleground

The Wealth of Nations is an eclectic text – even an “impenetrable” one, according to the director of the Adam Smith Institute. Smith argues that slavery and feudalism are bad and that economic growth and getting people out of poverty are good.

He thinks high wages and low profits are good. He also warns against things like cronyism, corporate corruption of politics, imperialism, inequality and the exploitation of workers. In observations about the British East India Company, which was the Amazon of its day and then some, Smith even warned about companies becoming too big to fail.

Those on the right of the debate often cite Smith’s “invisible hand” phrase from the Wealth of Nations in support of their worldview. Borrowed from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the phrase actually appears only once in the whole text. It is a metaphor for how a “free” market magically brings buyers and sellers together without any need for government involvement.

In more recent times, “invisible hand” has come to mean something slightly different. Chicago School free market advocates like Milton Friedman and George Stigler viewed it as a metaphor for prices, which they saw as signalling what producers wanted to produce and buyers wanted to buy. Any interference from government in terms of price controls or regulations would distort this mechanism and should therefore be avoided.

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were disciples of this way of thinking. In a 1988 speech encouraging his people to be thankful for the prosperity that comes from free trade, President Reagan argued that the Wealth of Nations “exposed for all time the folly of protectionism”.

Yet those on the left also find plenty in Smith that resonates with them. They often cite his concern for the poor in the Theory of Moral Sentiments:

This disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition, though necessary both to establish and to maintain the distinction of ranks and the order of society, is, at the same time, the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.

In 2013, President Barack Obama cited Smith in a speech to support raising the US minimum wage:

They who feed, clothe and lodge the whole body of the people should have such a share of the produce of their own labor as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed and lodged.

States and abuses

So how to square this circle? The truth is that Smith’s writing has enough ideas and inconsistencies to allow for all sides to cherry pick references as required. But one argument I find compelling, which has been put forward by the economist Mariana Mazzucato, is that many of those who champion laissez-faire policies misinterpret Smith’s notion of a free market.

This is linked to the fact that Smith was writing at a time when the British East India Company was responsible for a staggering 50% of world trade. It operated under a royal charter conferring a monopoly of English trade in the whole of Asia and the Pacific. It even had its own private army.

Benjamin West painting 1765 about the British East India taking tax control over Bengal
Mughal Emperor Shah Alam conveying tax-collecting rights for Bengal, Bihar and Orissa to the British East India Company, Benjamin West 1765.
Wikimeda, CC BY

Smith was presenting an alternative vision for the UK economy in which such state-licensed monopolies were replaced by firms competing against one another in a “free” market. Innovation and competition would provide employment, keep prices down and help reduce the appalling levels of urban poverty of the time. This was capitalism. And ultimately Smith was proved correct.

But Mazzucato argues that when Smith talked about the free market, he didn’t mean free from the state, so much as free from rent and free from extraction of value from the system. In today’s world, the equivalent example of such feudal extraction is arguably global tech firms like Amazon, Apple and Meta playing nations off against one another to minimise their regulations and tax liabilities.

This doesn’t sound like the sort of “free” market that Smith envisaged. He would probably be cheering on the EU’s anti-trust case against Google, for instance. Those who believe that Smith saw no role for the state in managing the economy ought to reflect on how spent his final years – working as a tax collector.The Conversation

Conor O’Kane, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Bournemouth University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

BU Research Conference – one week to go!

There’s still time to book your place for the BU Research Conference, which takes place next Wednesday (14 June) in the Fusion Building.

The theme for this year’s conference is embracing failure, looking at how we can overcome and learn from the moments that don’t go to plan.

Speakers include BU Honorary Doctorate recipient Dr Jan Peters MBE, Professors Ann Hemingway and Sam Goodman, and Robert Seaborne from Inside Academia. You’ll also have chance to take part in practical workshops covering topics including building resilience, repurposing funding applications, and improving writing practices.  

Lunch and refreshments are provided, and you’ll be able to create your own ‘failure cake’ with members of the Centre for Science, Health and Data Communication Research.

Following the conference, a drinks reception will provide the opportunity to network and share your experiences over a beverage or two.

We’re hoping it will be an inspiring and informative day, and we’d love to see you there.

Find out more and book your place via Eventbrite

Conversation article: Postnatal depression – what new fathers need to know

Dr Andy Mayers writes for The Conversation about how postnatal depression can affect new fathers…

Postnatal depression: what new fathers need to know – and how to ask for help

Postnatal depression symptoms are quite similar to depression symptoms.
christinarosepix/ Shutterstock

Andrew Mayers, Bournemouth University

Many people think of postnatal depression as a condition that only affects women. But in reality, postnatal depression affects almost as many men as women – with some research estimating it occurs in up to 10% of fathers.

Yet despite how common postnatal depression may be in men, there still isn’t very much information out there about it. This can make it hard to know if you may have postnatal depression – and how to get help if you do.

Here’s what you need to know.


Quarter life, a series by The Conversation

This article is part of Quarter Life, a series about issues affecting those of us in our twenties and thirties. From the challenges of beginning a career and taking care of our mental health, to the excitement of starting a family, adopting a pet or just making friends as an adult. The articles in this series explore the questions and bring answers as we navigate this turbulent period of life.

You may be interested in:

‘He is always there to listen’: friendships between young men are more than just beers and banter

Body image issues affect close to 40% of men – but many don’t get the support they need

Anxiety can lead to erection problems in young men – but reaching for Viagra isn’t always the solution


Why it happens

There are many reasons why postnatal depression happens. And, contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just due to hormones. Even in women, hormones only play a small role in postnatal depression.

Instead, postnatal depression is typically due to a combination of risk factors – such as a previous history of depression, sleep problems after the baby is born, lack of social support or financial challenges. Postnatal depression can also happen at any age.

The symptoms of postnatal depression are quite similar to symptoms of depression. As such, symptoms of postnatal depression may include low mood, lack of motivation, poor sleep, feeling guilty or worthless, poor concentration, changes in appetite or weight, fatigue and thoughts of death or suicide.

The main difference between depression and postnatal depression is that these feelings tend to happen in the postnatal period (typically the first year or so after the baby is born).

It can be normal to struggle with your mental health somewhat after your baby is born. After all, it can be an overwhelming and emotional time, with nearly every aspect of your life changing – from your daily routine, your relationship with your partner, to the amount of sleep you get every night.

Female doctor speaks with male patient.
Consider speaking with your GP if symptoms have lasted more than a few weeks.
fizkes/ Shutterstock

But if you’ve been experiencing low mood and lack of motivation for more than a few weeks, and are finding these feelings are making it difficult to engage with your infant, you may want to consider speaking with your GP or a mental health professional. It’s also worth noting that postnatal depression can happen at any time in the first year or two after the baby is born – not just in the early months.

Getting help

Postnatal depression is not likely to go away on its own. If you suspect you may be struggling with postnatal depression, it’s important to seek support – not only for your wellbeing, but because postnatal depression can also affect your bond with your baby.

First of all, there’s nothing wrong with needing help, and seeking support – either from loved ones, friends or a doctor – is nothing to be embarrassed by.It does not make you weak, nor does experiencing postnatal depression make you a “failure”.

While it can be difficult to know how to take the first step in getting support, a good starting point is simply acknowledging that this is a difficult thing to talk about. As simple as this sounds, it may just help you feel less awkward about sharing your experiences when you do speak to someone. It’s also worth remembering that when you do speak to someone, it’s important to say how you really feel – not what you feel you should say.

It’s also normal if you feel angry about feeling the way you do. Many young men who struggle with their mental health feel angry that they feel this way, or worry that they’ve let their loved ones down or that the system will not listen to them. To deal with that anger, be patient. Try to let the anger go – it may help you feel more at ease opening up about your other emotions.

You may also find it easier to talk about your experiences in certain settings. For example, while some people may find it easier to speak with their GP or in online chat groups, you may find it more comfortable to speak up in a less formal setting – such as while watching sports with friends. You can begin this conversation with something as simple as asking how others are doing, before sharing your own feelings and experiences. Or, if your friends are also parents themselves, you might ask if any of them experienced similar feelings during the postnatal period.

If you’re finding it hard to speak to loved ones, you could also consider using a mental health app. Some people find it easier to use an app to ask questions, find solutions and discuss how they’re feeling. Apps such as DadPad have a number of resources that can help you navigate fatherhood.

Postnatal depression in fathers is real and it does matter. Fortunately, compared to just a few years ago, there’s more awareness and help available than ever before.The Conversation

Andrew Mayers, Principal Academic in Psychology, Bournemouth University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.