Ongoing research and our own experience at Sands shows that the number of men accessing support following pregnancy and infant loss is incredibly low. Sadly, this is despite the intense grief that they feel when they lose a baby. Sands continues to advocate for an increased focus on improving the system response to men’s bereavement. This includes ensuring there is sufficient investment in new service offerings that specifically meet the needs of fathers. One idea includes developing a process for following up men following pregnancy and infant loss to connect them to support where required.

We strongly believe that there is a place for peer support for men and we will keep working to develop evidence informed services based on the voices of bereaved dads. We are currently in development of a pilot program, SMS4Dads – where dads can sign up to receive text messages during pregnancy, including messages on what can be done to reduce the risk of stillbirth. A group of bereaved fathers have worked with the SMS4Dads team to ensure that if they are notified that a baby had died there is a suitable response. We would love to expand to include an ongoing program to assist bereaved fathers in the first few months of their grief by providing continued texts from a peer. Bereaved dads have indicated they believe this would help dads to receive support that is less intrusive than traditional supports, making it easier for dads to engage with. We continue to seek funding to make these idea’s a reality.