DadPad launches, News

News: First DadPad apps launch in Scotland

Posted on 26th April 2024

After an epic two-days-up and two-days-back journey from Cornwall this week, Julian was delighted to have been in Inverness on Tue 23 April to help the fab Perinatal Infant Mental Health Team at NHS Highland launch our first ever DadPad apps for Scotland.

The day was a great success, enabling us to let lots of key people know that DadPad resources – including our essential guide DadPad, the Quick Read DadPad, the Co-ParentPad, and the DadPad app – are now available across Argyll & Bute and the North Highlands.  Julian was made to feel hugely welcome, and really appreciated all the work that had gone into organising the event, and the speakers who welcomed us and our resources to the area.

We thought perhaps the best way to start this blog post was to share this lovely video from the day, via the @MFRNews Twitter account:

One of our key contacts from the commissioning team, Perinatal Mental Health Advanced Nurse Susan Ross, had this to say about DadPad:

DadPad is packed with relevant information, as well as details on local support groups and services providers.  Its aim is to provide new fathers – whether it is your first child or not – with guidance on how to develop the mind-set, confidence and practical skills needed to meet their baby’s physical and emotional needs.

Building a strong attachment will not only enable dads to better enjoy their new role but also contribute towards positive long-term social, health and educational outcomes for their babies.

The app, which is available across Highland and Argyll & Bute, also provides dads with guidance on how to support and seek help, when needed, for their partners and themselves as they adjust to their new roles, and cope with the physical and emotional strains that this can place on individuals and relationships.

Pre-launch event

The commissioning team achieved some initial publicity and awareness raising ahead of Tuesday’s launch, holding a pre-launch event on 6th April at the Caledonian Stadium, during Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s home match against Arbroath.  Getting out and about in ‘traditional’ areas for men is a method that we always recommend when it comes to meeting with dads, letting them know about DadPad resources, and also giving them the opportunity to chat – in a relaxed and familiar environment – about their thoughts and feelings regarding preparing for fatherhood, becoming a new dad, and supporting their baby’s mum.

Donna, Carol and Susan from NHS Highland, promoting their forthcoming DadPad app at the ICTFC match v Arbroath FC on Saturday 6th April 2024: @ICTFC

Carol Spratt – Service Manager, for General Adult Mental Health and Specialisms at NHS Highland – told us that, even though they were in a fairly ‘quiet’ area during the match, she has since had “lots of feedback from folk I know to say there was evidence of discussion amongst the crowd and players“, which is great to hear.  The team are planning to repeat this awareness-raising event by attending a Ross County FC match in the near future, and they’re also considering attending some shinty games, too.


Launch Day

The launch itself took place at Clava Ward, New Craigs Hospital in Inverness.  The event took the format of an open day, with drop-in sessions running from 10.00am-12.30pm, and then 1.30pm-4.00pm, in order to all dads-to-be, new dads and their families – as well as professionals and other interested parties – to call in at a time that suited them in order to learn more about the app and speak to the teams.

Donna Cowan – Specialist Midwife with the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Team at NHS Highland – was delighted that the launch had been so well supported by so many of the organisations that her team work alongside and wanted to send “a huge thank you to all of them for supporting us and for all the lovely messages we received before and after.

We were also delighted that good friend of DadPad, Scott Mair – Director at Fatherhood Solutions and Head of Training and Community at Fathers Network Scotland – was kind enough to send in a video message of support to the launch event.

Some of the attendees and speakers at the launch event, including Barry Muirhead, Associate Nurse Director for Mental Health and Learning Disability Nursing at NHS Highland (top left); Arlene Johnstone, Interim Head of Mental Health, Learning Disabilities & Drug, Alcohol Recovery Services at NHS Highland (bottom right); and some of the Midwives from Clava Ward at New Craigs Hospital (top right).

Amazing initial feedback!

We’ve already received some great feedback from some of the new and expectant dads who’ve been accessing the new apps, including this:

It is fantastic that Highland are trailblazing [the DadPad app] for dads; we are so often forgotten as the focus is on mum and baby.  I will be telling my pals to look at this.

Dad-to-be Jonny, using the North Highlands app, commented:

The simplest way of describing the app would be ‘brilliant’! The sheer amount of resources available, alongside the quality of them, combined with the user-friendly interface instantly made my other (better) half jealous, and put her maternity notes app to shame. The part I find the most useful, though, is the Notes section, as I doubt I’m alone in thinking of a random question one night and then completely forgetting about it until AFTER the next Midwife/Health Visitor appointment.

I 100% believe that this should be a standard thing that Midwives etc advise to download at the initial booking in appointment for dads.  Even friends in Aberdeen who are new parents have told me that they wish it was available for them, too!

Local musician (and experienced dad), Davy Cowan, who attended the launch event, said that he had been blown away by our DadPad products. He thought the DadPad was “an excellent resource and I wish it had been available when I had my family.”

And Mark Ridgers, goalkeeper for Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who also attended the launch, had this to say:

I think – especially with that male arrogance thing – you don’t want to ask questions, and especially [in relation to] childbirth and trying to raise a child, the woman, the mum is always the main person in and around the child’s life at the beginning.  When you go to the classes, a lot of the stuff is targeted towards them and how they can do their bit, but as a dad I want to be hands-on as well, because my wife and I waited a long time to have our son so this [the DadPad] gives people the chance to be more confident, prior to the baby being born or even when the baby is born. You can look it up if you’re struggling and you don’t want to ask for help which some men don’t want to, and this gives them the opportunity. Everyone’s got a mobile phone nowadays, so it’s easy to get the app – and even if you’re sitting for 5-10 minutes after baby’s in bed, you can have a wee read of it.

Mark Ridgers talks about DadPad at the launch event.

It’s also been lovely to hear good things from professionals, including Heather Cuthbertson, Early Years Practitioner, who attended Tuesday’s launch:

What a fantastic, inspiring morning and exciting times ahead for all those dads and co-parents. The app is easy to navigate and has all the relevant information, with an opportunity to chat within the app to establish connections. [This is a] useful tool for parents and health professionals to share together.

Gillian Forbes, PEEP Co-ordinator at The Highland Council, added:

I have spent some time this afternoon navigating my way around the app and discovering the wealth of information available to dads and families.  It really is a fantastic resource to have readily available.


Accessing the DadPad apps for Scotland

One thing that did become apparent in the first day or so following the launch is that some dads were having difficulty accessing it online.  This is because – at present – we have two app platforms running (we’re piloting our new app platform in a few areas, including Scotland, before we start to move all existing and new apps over, and close down our original DadPad app platform) and selecting the ‘wrong one’ means you won’t be able to find the Scottish apps.

To get the DadPad app for North Highland or Argyll & Bute, then, you need to click on either this link for the App Store/Apple devices or this one for Google Play/Android devices.

Julian would like to thank the commissioning team at NHS Highland who have worked so hard in getting the app in place, and all those involved in attending, speaking at and/or organising Tuesday’s event – including in particular Harry Gow Bakery, the makers of the “best cake I have ever tasted”, made to celebrate the launch!



Links to further reading:

BBC News – Highlands and Islands (2024) Health board app gives new fathers a helping hand. [online]

NHS Highland (2024) The DadPad launches in NHS Highland. [online]