About us

About Father for Life

Dad on Paternity Leave – Father for Life is a project to promote strong relationships between father and child, as they are extremely important for the well-being of the father and child and the rest of the family. The Father for Life project, which is supported by Nordea Fonden, is organised by the Forum for Men’s Health.

What is the challenge?
Despite the fact that fathers are currently forging ahead in terms of involvement and engagement in their children’s lives, there is still a long way to go in terms of gender equality. Fathers are still expected to take second place in many parts of the healthcare system, and there are still many preconceived ideas about men and fathers’ roles in areas such as child care, paternity leave and so on. Many programmes for parents of young children are still primarily intended and organised for women, which is problematic, considering how many fathers and fathers-to-be are deeply involved with their children and want to spend a lot of time with them.

What is the solution?
The answer is to set up many more specialised activities and schemes which fathers can identify with and want to take part in. We must be able to create a positive narrative about being a father and paternity leave, so more fathers will want to take more paternity leave. There are still several areas in the healthcare system where there is very little focus on fathers, and where professionals lack the knowledge and means to involve fathers on an equal footing with women, right from the start. More new knowledge is needed, with more experience from practice and inter-professional discussions and, not least, more focus on fathers in general, so that politicians and decision-makers also see the need to update the current workflows.

What we do
Forum for Men’s Health has opened more than 40 Dads’ Playgroups across Denmark. We have tested and developed guides for fathers’ groups and various father- and-child activities, which health visitors especially make use of in their work. To qualify healthcare professionals to envisage fathers in their services, we run basic education programmes, train father-ambassadors with a special focus on fathers, and design services and materials aimed at both professionals and fathers. These include ‘Parents Together’, a book of topics to talk about, ‘Father for Life – A book for the man as a father’, ‘Guide to treating fathers with postnatal depression’, ‘Guide to better involvement of fathers in healthcare’, and ‘Guide for fathers on paternity leave’. We also publish our research and articles in professional journals. Win connection with earmarked paternity leave, we are currently working to organise more and better activities and groups for fathers, upskilling professionals for the increased numbers of fathers on parental leave. We also inform and guide fathers and families about parental leave, its importance, what you can do on parental leave, and the choices couples need to make about sharing it between them.

Who are the Men’s Health Forum?

The Men’s Health Forum is a partnership between more than 50 municipalities, trade unions, professional organisations and companies that want to improve men’s health. The Men’s Health Forum is responsible for a variety of projects such as ‘Men’s Health Week’, ‘Men’s Meeting Places’ and ‘Municipality, get to know your men! We also provide research, training and information about men’s health. The organisation has offices in Vesterbro in Copenhagen and runs activities throughout Denmark.

You can read more about the Men’s Health Forum and our other activities HERE.

The texts on this page are written by

Tobias Siiger Prentow
MSc in Health Promotion and project manager at the Forum for Men’s Health. Tobias conducted the 80 qualitative interviews with fathers on which Father for Life is based. He has also trained healthcare professionals in including fathers and improving men’s health, and he has conducted studies on fathers, paternity, fathers’ health and their relationships with the healthcare system.


Svend Aage Madsen
Chairman of the Forum for Men’s Health and the Society for Men’s Health. Also PhD and head of research at the Rigshospitalet. In addition to his many years as head of research and chief psychologist at Rigshospitalet, Svend Aage has researched and written a number of articles and books about fathers and men’s health. He has been teaching for many years, including training psychologists, doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers. In his practice, he has treated men with postnatal psychological reactions.

The editors have received help with some of the texts from other professionals.

Will your municipality, company or organisation help?

Do you work with fathers, or would you like to?

Father for Life is always looking for municipalities and other organisations that would like to work with us to open a Dads’ Playgroup, give their healthcare professionals further training, or set up activities for fathers and children.