DadBooster

Dads: Do you feel overwhelmed or struggling to cope?

Join the DadBooster research trial and learn how to feel better.

DadBooster is a free online program designed to help dads who are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression. It is the first program of its kind in Australia, and we are looking for 50 dads to help us evaluate its effectiveness.

DadBooster: An online program designed to help Aussie dads.

The DadBooster study might be for you…

If you are a dad over 18 with a baby under 12 months old, and you are not currently receiving treatment for depression, you may be eligible to participate in the trial.

if you are over 18 years of age with a baby under twelve (12) months old…

and you are not receiving treatment for depression (antidepressants or therapy).

Dad and baby

What’s involved?

The trial involves completing some questionnaires and assessments, and participating in a 6-session online cognitive-behavioural therapy program that you can work through at your own pace. You will also have the opportunity to hear from other dads about what has been helpful for them, and to include your partner in the program if you choose. You will be given access to the program either straight away or after 12 weeks.

What are the benefits?

Your participation in the trial could help you to:

  • Understand your feelings better
  • Learn strategies to feel better
  • Hear about the experiences and learnings of other dads
  • Help us to develop a program that can help other Aussie dads

How to get involved

To participate in the DadBooster research trial, simply click here and complete the quick online survey. We will then contact you to help you to decide if the program is right for you.

Help spread the word

Do you know a dad who might be interested in participating in the trial? Please share this link with him. We need as many dads as possible to get involved so that we can create a program that is truly effective.

It’s time to take care of yourself, dads. Join the DadBooster research trial today.

P.S. The trial is completely confidential. Your personal information will not be shared with anyone without your consent.

Personal Stories

Challenges for fathers

The transition to parenthood can be especially challenging for dads, who may face new challenges such as adjusting to their new role, balancing work and family life, and experiencing changes in their relationship with their partner. You may also experience a range of new emotions, such as anxiety, joy, confusion, and uncertainty. You are not alone.

The Parent-Infant Research Institute (PIRI) has been working with Aussie dads to design an online treatment program called DadBooster, a world-first program is for fathers who are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression. PIRI is conducting a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the DadBooster program and is looking for 50 dads to help out.

DadBooster FAQs

Becoming a dad doesn’t happen overnight and doesn’t happen without a fair amount of upheaval and challenges. Many Dads have spoken about the mix of feelings they have had as they plan for and take home their new baby on their journey to parenthood.

It may surprise you that men may also experience symptoms of depression when expecting a new baby or becoming a new parent. 1 in 10 new or expectant dads experience anxiety or depression after the birth of a child.

Some dads have more difficulties than others as they make this transition.  Many dads struggle and feel very overwhelmed and stressed, and about 10% become depressed.

DadBooster is a free 6-session online cognitive-behavioural therapy treatment program

  • This program is similar to the therapy delivered in traditional face-to-face psychology sessions
  • The advantage of online treatment is that it allows men to work through their own issues in their own time
  • The program offers tailored strategies for dealing with issues you may be struggling with
  • Low-intensity SMS messages provide advice, and encouragement
  • Changes in symptoms of depression are monitored throughout the program
  • You can invite your partner to access a partner portal with information on paternal depression and for managing their own emotional health.

DadBooster Home Page

It may surprise you that 10% of men may experience symptoms of depression when expecting a new baby. New fathers who are struggling are often overlooked and their difficulties are not acknowledged by a system that has focused mainly on mother and baby health and wellbeing. This means that dads have not had ready access to treatment when they need it. We want to make the Dadbooster program available to all Aussie Dads.

This research study will evaluate the effectiveness of the DadBooster program as a treatment for dads experiencing depression and anxiety after the birth of their child.

You will complete questionnaires and a telephone assessment with a psychologist to determine whether the DadBooster program is suitable for you. You will then complete the self-paced 6-session cognitive-behavioural therapy treatment program online either straight away or after 12 weeks. Follow-up questionnaires and assessments are completed 9-weeks and 12-weeks post-enrolment to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.

Your involvement will likely help you to understand some more about how you are feeling and to learn strategies to feel better. It will give you the opportunity to hear from other Dads about what has been helpful for them. It provides a chance to include your partner if you choose to. You also have access to library articles that may give you ideas about how to make some changes to improve your family life.

Your involvement will also help us evaluate the effectiveness of our new Internet-based treatment program for other fathers of new babies.

DadBooster is designed for men (fathers or non-birth partners) who are helping to care for a baby who are feeling overwhelmed and may be experiencing some of the signs of anxiety and depression.

This study is suitable for you if:

  • you are not receiving medication for depression
  • you are not receiving psychological treatment
  • you are not feeling suicidal
  • you are over 18 years of age
  • your baby is less than 12 months of age
  • you are not relying heavily on drugs or alcohol to cope
  • you have not been diagnosed with bipolar or other serious psychiatric disorder

Many dads describe some or many of the following when struggling:

Signs of depression

  • Feeling sad, empty or flat most days
  • Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Appetite changes, either eating too much or reduced appetite
  • Reduced ability to concentrate or make decisions
  • Feeling agitated and unable to be still
  • Sleep disturbance either sleeplessness (unrelated to your baby) or sleeping too much

Other emotions

  • Feeling so anxious and worried that it interferes with your day-to-day life
  • Ongoing irritability or anger
  • Feeling constantly exhausted
  • Feeling unmotivated and slowed down
  • Feeling stressed which can include experiencing physical symptoms such as indigestion, headaches, and muscle tension, aches and pains

Changes with your relationships

  • Withdrawing from your family and friends and feeling unable to share your struggles
  • Feeling isolated and disconnected in your relationship with your partner
  • Lack of connection or increased irritability towards your baby

If you recognise some or all these things, then DadBooster may be for you.

As this is a research study specifically to address depression, we have a few guidelines about who can take part. After the study we would hope to offer this program more widely to Aussie Dads who need it. This is an online treatment program and, as such, has some limitations in the type of care it is able to provide.

This study is not suitable for you if:

  • you are receiving medication for depression
  • you are receiving psychological treatment
  • you are feeling suicidal
  • you are under 18 years of age
  • your baby is over 12 months of age
  • you are relying heavily on drugs or alcohol to cope
  • you have been diagnosed with bipolar or other serious psychiatric disorder

Other support options may be more suitable for fathers who are not able to be included in this research study at present. We have listed some alternative supports below that may help. If you need urgent help, please click here.

  • Panda National Helpline: 1300 726 306
  • Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636
  • Mensline: 1300 789 978
  • Lifeline: 13 11 14
  • Emergency Services: 000
  • Gidget Foundation: 1300 851 758
  • National Alcohol and Drug Hotline: 1800 250 015
  • Sane Helpline: 1800 187 263
  • 1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732
  • Department of Health
  • Local hospital emergency department
  • Your GP

Any personal information obtained in connection with this study will remain completely confidential. De-identified research results will be published in scientific journals for research purposes.

To participate in the study, click here and complete the quick online survey. We will then contact you to help you to decide if this program is right for you.

Do you have a mate who might be keen to get involved? Let them know by giving them a heads up and sharing a link to this page. We’ve also prepared a few social media tiles and posters so you can help spread the word about this exciting new program for dads.

Access the social media kit here on Google Drive.

Developed with Aussie dads and dads-to-be

Development of DadBooster was informed by evidence-based research and ongoing consultation PIRI is conducting with Australian dads and dads-to-be. DadBooster and DadSpace expands on PIRI’s perinatal support programs which include MumSpace, a website launched in 2017 offering emotional support to women to help them manage the challenges of perinatal depression and anxiety, in their own time and their own way.

Download the info flyer.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or struggling to cope, you may wish to discuss this with your health professional or contact one of our recommended support services.

Not sure if DadBooster is for you?

It will help our research to understand why. Feel free to leave your comments.

We gratefully acknowledge the generous funding from the Ian Potter Foundation, Perpetual Impact Philanthropy and Men of Malvern, with support from the Baker Foundation and the Parent-Infant Research Institute (PIRI).
This research has been approved by the Austin Health Human Research Ethics Committee.
HREC/73980/Austin-2021.

Watch the intro video

Take a tour of DadBooster