Fathers, Dads-to-be, Families & Health Professionals. Receive free text messages, support, info & tips – especially for dads & dads-to-be

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Receive free text messages, support, info & tips – especially for dads & dads-to-be

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SMS4dads first kiss
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There’s not a lot out there that speaks directly to dads. SMS4dads supports men in their role as fathers and increases awareness of their influence on baby’s brain development.

SMS4dads helps fathers understand and connect with their baby and partner. It also checks in on their wellbeing and offers professional support if needed.

SMS4dads is FREE.  It provides info related to the age and stage of your baby. It’s the info you need – when you need it, how you need it – straight to your phone, 

How it works

Join Up

Dads Join Up Online by answering a few brief questions. They enter their baby’s expected or actual date of birth so that messages relate to the age and stage of their baby.

Messages Begin

Once registered, dads receive three messages a week. Messages begin from as early as 12 weeks into their partners pregnancy up until their baby turns one. SMS4dads is FREE and dads can opt out at any time.

Tips & Advice

Some messages provide tips and encouragement. Others are health related with developmental info related to looking after their baby. Messages are also about being mindful of their own health and ways to support their partner.


Some messages ask how a dad is coping. If a dad flags he's not doing so well and doesn't have someone to talk to – a health professional gets in touch to offer him, some support.

Tailor-made Messages

If a dad identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander they get a special set of culturally appropriate messages and are linked into Aboriginal support services.

Extra Support

If a dad’s baby is premi or their partner has a miscarriage or stillbirth, they receive a special set of messages to support them during this time.

What Dads Say

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Info when you need it

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Richard’s research revealed possible long-term negative impacts on the children of dads with mental health issues. Fathers’ depressive symptoms in the first year after the birth predicted behaviour problems in their children years later.

“If dads’ mental health has such a dramatic impact then we need to be screening dads for depression, not just mums,” Richard explains.

In response to these limitations, Richard and his team have designed a smart-phone based program that allows mobile connection for new and expectant dads.

Participants receive texts containing information and links, and self-report their mood. If the mood tracker identifies dads as needing extra support, they will be offered a phone call from a counsellor trained in this area.

Following the success of the pilot of the SMS4dads program, Funding was received to enable a National roll-out.

“When dad’s miss antenatal classes or activities, they also miss out on contact and links to other people.  They may never get the chance to say to anyone, look I’m really stressed,” he points out.

“SMS4dads is a way of bringing dads into the health system and keeping them linked in with services and support,” explains Richard.

Richard Fletcher

Associate Professor, PhD

Richard credits a varied career, a talented and innovative team, and much life experience for affording him the insight needed to address the challenges related to actively engaging dads.

After completing his masters in Medical Science, studying epidemiology, Richard earned his PhD focusing on fathers and attachment.

“Fathers are invisible in many places, and that is endemic. Not because people dislike fathers, but because the system is set up to be focused on mothers.”

Some services and organisations are aware of the need to engage dads, but have been unsuccessful in their attempts.

“When people are challenged about this, they generally want dads involved,” Richard affirms.

“Often, however, they just don’t know how to do it.”

Richard works with health professionals on issues related to fathers, and has delivered many antenatal programs for expectant dads.

He credits his own family with giving him an understanding of the role of fathers needed to make his work relevant.

“I have three daughters and two stepdaughters,”

“My kids would say they taught me just about everything I know and they’d be right. They’ve taught me a lot, and still do.”