ScotlandOur local Home-Starts across Scotland support over 3000 families and nearly 6000 children very year. Our local community network of over 1000 trained volunteers work with families from before birth through to school age offering compassionate, confidential help to parents when they need us most. Our focus is on enabling parents and carers to be the warm, consistent and nurturing adults they want to be so that their children get the best possible start in life. Starting in the home our approach is as individual as the people we are helping – on most days of the week you will find teams of great parent to parent supporters involved in activities as diverse as offering one to one support around perinatal mental health problems, increasing breastfeeding through local support groups, getting children outdoors through gardening and messy play days, tackling the attainment gap in partnership with schools, bringing lonely or isolated parents together to forge new friendships and getting dads involved in antenatal workshops. Home-Start in Scotland brings the Getting It Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) approach to life by bringing family support to the parents and carers who need it most because childhood can’t wait. volunteer our work Contact us in Edinburgh How can we better support bereaved fathers? An astonishing number of men under the age of 65 experience the death of a life partner in Scotland every year. Many of these are fathers and some still have dependent children. Rebecca Phipps, a research student at the University of Glasgow, explains why she is seeking participants for a study looking at how men cope with this type of bereavement. In the 2011 Scottish census, over 14,500 men under the age of 65 were reported to have experienced the death of their marital or civil partner. We don’t know how many more outside marriage or civil partnerships lost their partners. Nor do we know how many men experiencing this type of bereavement have dependent children. This is a considerable gap in our knowledge given that bereavement is a highly stressful life-event that demands considerable readjustment for surviving parents and their children. At the University of Glasgow we are conducting a research study to capture lived experiences of fathers whose cohabiting partner died between six months and five years ago. The study aims to provide contemporary insight into men’s grief in the context of daily life; to capture its impact on identity and observe how this may influence coping approaches. The purpose of this research is to better understand men’s experiences to learn more about how fathers can be better supported. We know that people who experience the death of a partner are at increased risk of adverse health outcomes and are more likely to die when compared to non-bereaved peers. Men below the age of 70 have been identified as a particularly vulnerable bereaved group, for whom relative risk of dying in accidental or in violent circumstances is particularly high. Gender differences in health outcomes following stressful life events have been attributed to differences in men’s and women’s coping approaches. There has been significant research into the impact of parental bereavement on children but this does not tell us much about the experience of a surviving parent. It is estimated that one third of parentally bereaved children will need formal support from a bereavement support service. Some evidence suggests there may be gender differences in parenting style among partner bereaved groups and men may need more encouragement to engage with their children in bereavement related support tasks. Across bereavement literature it is widely expressed that men are less likely to seek support from formal services following bereavement but very little research has been conducted into the topic. We know that in addition to grieving for their own personal loss, the death of a partner often leads to the surviving parent feeling under increased pressure to maintain the family’s wellbeing. Understandably, children sometimes respond to parental bereavement with a change in behaviour and research has found that many parents will experience a loss of confidence in their parenting ability. There is an urgent need for contemporary research into men’s bereavement to capture the experiences of families today; many of whom may not be married and may have children from previous relationships. Few studies have looked at how ‘being a man’ might influence bereavement experiences and those that have, predominantly focus on older men without dependent age children. Of the studies that have focused on men with child rearing responsibilities, these mostly re-use non-contemporary datasets and may overlook shifts in gender roles. The majority of these studies focus on marital partner bereavement and largely exclude unmarried and same-sex partner bereaved men. We are encouraging anyone who feels they can contribute to this study to find out more. For details on how to take part visit http://bit.ly/2p4PHxc The study is being conducted by Rebecca Phipps a research student at MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow and is funded by the Medical Research Council and the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office. The project is supervised by Dr Shona Hilton, Dr Kirstin Mitchell and Dr Amy Nimegeer. This study has been approved by the University of Glasgow, College of Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee. Views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the MRC and CSO. (Funding: MC_UU_12017/15, SPHSU15 MC_UU_12017/11, SPHSU11, Award ref. 1802757) Rebecca Phipps is a PhD student, MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow. Hart, C.L., et al., Effect of conjugal bereavement on mortality of the bereaved spouse in participants of the Renfrew/Paisley Study. J Epidemiol Community Health, 2007. 61(5): p. 455-60. Roelfs, D.J., et al., Widowhood and Mortality: A Meta-Analysis and Meta-Regression. Demography, 2012. 49(2): p. 575-606. National Records of Scotland. Scotland’s census 2011. 2016 [cited 2016 22/09/16]; Available from: http://www.scotlandscensus.gov.uk/ods-web/area.html. Network, C.B. Childhood Bereavement Network response to Children and Young People’s Mental Health – role of education UK government consultation. [online pdf] 2016 [cited 2017 30/11/17]; Available from: http://www.childhoodbereavementnetwork.org.uk/media/65113/CBN-response-to-Children-and-Young-People%E2%80%99s-Mental-Health-%E2%80%93-role-of-education.pdf. Aamotsmo, T. and K.E. Bugge, Balance artistry: The healthy parent's role in the family when the other parent is in the palliative phase of cancer — Challenges and coping in parenting young children. Palliative and Supportive Care, 2013. 12(4): p. 317-329. Kelly, J., A Whole School Approach to Supporting Loss and Bereavement. Glasgow City Council Education Services. [online] 2016, Available from Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief: https://www.goodlifedeathgrief.org.uk/content/resources/Updated_toolkit_(2).pdf Saldinger, A., K. Porterfield, and A.C. Cain, Meeting the Needs of Parentally Bereaved Children: A Framework for Child–Centered Parenting. Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes, 2004. 67(4): p. 331-352.