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Ways Daughters Can Help Fathers Maintain Their Mental Health

By HERWriter
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How daughters can help fathers with mental health via Fotolia

Father’s Day has passed, along with Men’s Health Week, but that doesn’t mean the health of fathers should be overlooked for the rest of the year. In fact, daughters can actually play an important role in promoting mental health wellness in their fathers throughout the year.

Experts have suggestions for how daughters can help look after their fathers’ mental health, and provide some signs of potential mental health issues in aging men.

The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists provided via a press release some “common signs of stress” that fathers (and their daughters) can be aware of before a further mental health issue could develop:

1) “Physical symptoms: Sleep disturbance, fatigue, muscle tension and weight fluctuation.”
2) “Emotional symptoms: Including nervousness, anxiety, lack of concentration and overreaction to small things.”
3) “Relational symptoms: Increase in number of arguments, conflicts with co-workers and road rage.”

The Association also provided some tips for fathers to help them manage stress. (Daughters could also suggest these tips to their fathers.)

These include prioritizing what needs to get accomplished during the day instead of becoming overwhelmed over a massive list (and taking small breaks when necessary), and making sure to laugh throughout the day. Live a healthy lifestyle, taking time to “relax and breathe deeply.” Utilize a mental health professional, and ask for assistance instead of doing everything on your own always.

Marilyn Belleghem, a marriage and family therapist, speaker, consultant and author, had a personal experience where she helped her father while he was battling with cancer.

“My dad died after a struggle with cancer, and he went through times of sadness and times of acceptance,” Belleghem said in an email.

“I spent many hours with him, and getting him talking was one area that was especially rewarding for both of us. He couldn't believe at first that I could listen for long periods of time to his stories of his life. I knitted while he talked, and asked questions about his tales.”

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EmpowHER Guest

Wonderful article! Great to learn from other experts. Thank you for including my tips.
Elika Kormeili

June 25, 2012 - 8:45am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.