In November, the Australian Government released a draft of its new National Men’s Health Strategy for 2020 to 2030. MAPP Lead Investigator, Dr Jacqui Macdonald, submitted a response to the draft on behalf of the MAPP research program. She commented that support for men’s health and wellbeing was critical at all stages of the lifespan but that the peak age for entering fatherhood, from the late 20s and across the 30s was particularly important. This is a high-risk period for stress, workplace pressures and family struggles for all men, with and without children.
It is important that the government recognise the risks and that adequate strategies are in place particularly to increase access opportunities for men to receive support. Dr Macdonald also worked with the Australian Fatherhood Research Consortium to submit a response specifically calling for fatherhood to be given greater recognition in the strategy, noting that the transition to fatherhood is both a time of risk but also a period of great motivation for positive behavioural change. In 2018, Dr Macdonald also joined the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Advisory Group on Family Statistics, where she will encourage further representation of fathers in the federal government’s data collection programs.
MAPP will continue to make use of the evidence from the information that participants provide to inform government, workplaces and support services of the pressures faced by men and fathers and where supports and funding are most needed. Dr Macdonald wishes to thank all the men involved in the MAPP study for their time and dedication to the project, which is invaluable in ensuring our health and research policies reflect the diversity of needs within Australian men.