BY JAMES WERNICKE
Beyond the biological aspect, fathers play essential roles in society. Through their words and actions, they support and validate their family and community. They lead by example how to be honest when others are deceptive, how to persevere in the face of adversity, how to serve when others are arrogant, and how to be kind when others are cruel. They break harmful cycles by nurturing relationships, respecting other perspectives, and acknowledging their own vulnerability. They foster well-rounded families capable of thriving in various aspects of life and a more inclusive and compassionate future.
Recognizing and valuing the unique contributions of fathers is vital for a healthy community, and one area in which many fathers especially need support is mental health. While all genders face mental health issues, cultural expectations still stigmatize men from seeking help or discussing their struggles openly. Debunking this notion that seeking support is a sign of weakness is essential. Making services more accessible that are tailored to these issues including therapy, counseling, support groups, and helplines, where fathers can share their struggles and successes, can facilitate solidarity and reduce isolation. Normalizing men’s mental health support has a ripple effect that positively impacts families, workplaces, and communities. This weekend, please take a minute to think about the fathers that have impacted your life and consider that they may have some turmoil bottled up inside. We all doubt our ability as a partner and parent from time to time, and we can always use an affirming hug.