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Unique project started in Bonn: Pro familia offers support for expectant fathers

Unique project started in Bonn : Pro familia offers support for expectant fathers

During home visits, Pro familia found that men also have a great need for counseling. Rainer Opitz is now an expert advisor for men's health at Pro familia. The Bonn Health Department is financing his full-time position for two years.

For decades, there has been a focus on family planning and the promotion of good health at the Pro familia counseling center. When it comes to pregnancy and conflict counseling, Pro familia midwives are on duty to carry out home visits. During these home visits, Pro familia found out that there was also a great need for counseling among men.

The approach to health issues is very different for men and women. "Men wait longer to see a doctor or visit a counseling center, but are often uncertain about their own health, and about their child's learning and physical well-being. We would like to do more educational work in this area," says Bernd Niemann, deputy head of the Pro familia counseling center. On April 1, Rainer Opitz began his work as a specialist advisor for men's health at Pro familia Bonn. The medical advisor offers consultations on all topics relating to men's health.

Focus on counseling migrants

"We would like to find target-oriented ways to address adult men living in Bonn," says Opitz. Since it is easiest to access men through women, he accompanies midwives to the families they care for. Discussion topics with expectant fathers can range from sports and nutrition to dealing with chronic illnesses and sexuality issues to questions about being a father, contact with children and family health. "Depending on how well men manage themselves, they can develop a better relationship with their children," says Niemann. "It's about finding individual solutions to problems," explains Opitz.

Because the 44-year-old has a wealth of experience both in the field of nursing care and as a medical consultant in the customer advisory service of a health insurance company, he is very well networked. If necessary, he can refer the client to the appropriate specialist or service. Opitz offers individual counseling to individuals and groups at home, in the Pro familia counseling center or in a community facility. One focus is on counseling migrants who could be reached, for example, by attending German language courses. But the counseling service is open to everyone: "All adult men living in Bonn have the opportunity to take advantage of the free service," says Opitz.

The full-time counseling position, which is unique for Pro familia in NRW and has initially been set up for two years, is financed by the Health Department of the City of Bonn. Further plans include the establishment of a group of fathers in the Tannenbusch family center. Here, too, questions about men's health and the upbringing of children will be addressed.

Appointments for group and individual counseling can be arranged at the Pro familia counseling center, Kölnstraße 96. One can also contact them by e-Mail: bonn@profamilia.de or by calling: 0228/3380000.

(Orig. text: Sebastian Flick; Translation: ck)