A father is creating a men’s support group for dads who have lost a child at birth to break the stigma around men and mental health.
Ross Coniam from Watford created the #DadsandLadsNetwork because he felt there was no real designated support out there for him as a dad after the death of his daughter, Norah Faith, who passed away nine hours after she was born.
In response to his daughter’s death, Ross set up fundraising campaign #Nine4Norah which saw him take on nine gruelling challenges in 2019 where he raised over £50,000.
Speaking about his plans, Ross said: “When Norah passed away, there was no support for me as a dad. There was family support groups but nothing for men and knowing the stigma around men not talking about how they really feel, I knew I had to do something.
“I want to set up a peer to peer support group in the new year which will have regular monthly meetups for dads to talk about their experiences and just open up.
“It is okay to not be okay and we want to make it normal for men to feel like they can open up about their feelings.”
Ross has already set up a WhatsApp group and has seen the benefits of people talking in the chat about things.
“I have got 10 people in the group so far and they all think it is a great idea,” explained Ross. “In an ideal world, we don’t want anyone in the group, but it is a real thing which affects so many people across the UK.
“At the minute, I have people showing interest from all over the UK and we are all meeting in the new year. I want to see where it can go really. It isn’t a professional group, but who knows where this can go in the future.”
In the meantime, Ross has contacted local hospital bereavement groups to pass on the message for dad’s who are suffering behind closed doors.
If any men are interested in joining the group or if anyone knows someone who is struggling, then feel free to contact Ross on firstname.lastname@example.org or stillbirth and miscarriage charities including SANDS, 4Louis and more.