Father's Day Gifts to Support Dad's Mental Health

Dad holding daughter on his shoulders

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Key Takeaways

  • One out of 10 men will struggle with depression at some point in their lives.
  • Seventy percent of dads say their stress level increased within the first year of becoming a father.
  • Father’s Day gifts that focus on dads’ mental health can show love, care, support, and encouragement.

Electronic gadgets, gift cards, and clothes are among the top gifts that dads receive on Father’s Day. Gifts range from the humorous stand-by, like a giant tie, to the exotic, like a safari adventure. The purpose of buying gifts is to celebrate dad, let him know he is appreciated, and give him something that he’ll enjoy.

That premise holds true for all dads, regardless of what they may be going through. If a father is dealing with mental health issues, there are gifts that can not only make him feel loved, but also encouraged during his challenges.

As we celebrate this upcoming Father’s Day and bring greater awareness to men’s mental health this month, we look at gift ideas that can uplift and support them as they bravely work through mental health issues.

Pressures Dads Are Facing

In the United States, 1 out of 10 men will struggle with depression at some point in their lives. All men are inundated with duties at work and in the community. Dads have additional weights with responsibilities inside the home. They may experience parental burnout or be overwhelmed with stress and anxiety caring for their family. Add in concerns about finances, retirement, and a host of other issues, and dads’ plates are full.

While being a father is a rewarding experience mentally and emotionally, it can take its toll. Research shows that 70% of dads say their stress levels increased within the first year of becoming a father. For almost a quarter of those dads, their stress levels increased significantly. Time commitments and family demands brought on a sizable amount of stress.

While another pair of socks or cologne may seem like the ideal gift, it may not be the best gift for your dad. But knowing what he enjoys, and being aware of his struggles, can help decide on the perfect gift for him.

Gifts to Support Dads' Mental Health

The gift ideas for dads are as varied as fathers themselves. Presents that are beneficial for dad can range from those focused on mental health treatment, to those that help alleviate some of his burdens.

And of course, there are options that are just plain fun, and will allow him to enjoy himself.

Gifts of Affirmation

If words of affirmation are your father’s love language, this type of gift can build him up mentally and emotionally.

Affirmation jewelry, including necklaces and bracelets, specialize in messages that can continually encourage dad. Younger kids may enjoy writing a message to dad to let him know how special he is.

In fact, if your father is someone who keeps special letters, cards, and mementoes, a letter of love and encouragement could be the perfect gift, no matter the age of the child.

Mugs, signs, and picture frames are a few other gifts that can display a message of affirmation.

Gifts of Time

Does dad usually fix dinner? Does he mow the lawn every week? Taking one of these chores off his hands could be a pleasant surprise for him. Another interpretation of the gift of time is the family coming together to do something dad enjoys.

While research shows that dads are spending more time with their children than they did decades ago, more than 60% of fathers say it’s still not enough time.

A family board game or movie could be the ideal way to bring everyone together. Toddlers and young kids love a good game of hide-and-seek, especially around the house. Little kids also love telling jokes. Dad may revel in having the time to judge a joke-telling contest.

Gifts of Relaxation

Spa gifts or days of pampering are typical thoughts for moms on Mother’s Day. While those exact activities may not be on dad’s horizon, giving him a day to relax is a great way to say how much the family values his time.

Reading the newspaper all day, hanging out on the couch watching TV, spending time in his man cave, or a bike ride in the great outdoors can allow dad to reflect and focus on himself—something he doesn’t get to do enough.

Mayra Mendez, PhD

We want dad to know that it’s okay to do some self-care, however he defines the self-care, [and] be supportive of that.

— Mayra Mendez, PhD

“We want dad to know that it’s okay to do some self-care, however he defines the self-care, [and] be supportive of that,” says Mayra Mendez, PhD, LMFT, a licensed psychotherapist and program coordinator for intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health services at Providence Saint John's Child and Family Development Center.

Experience Gifts

Skydiving, flight lessons, racecar driving, and going up in a hot-air balloon are exciting gifts that create an experience.

In addition to the fun it creates, going to a new environment can also be beneficial for his mental health. Experts say that your surroundings can influence your well-being. Kids of all ages can join in on the excitement with dad.

Gifts of Mental Health

Giving dad gifts to help improve his mental health shows love, care, and concern. Apps, books, and online courses that tackle depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues can bridge the gap between dad wanting help and making inroads to get it.

The family can also provide dad with the gift of therapy. Gifting dad a virtual therapy session may make him feel safe and comfortable with the ability to start treatment in his own home.

No matter what way you choose to show love to Dad, the most important thing is that he knows he is loved.

The biggest thing is to be curious. Lean in. Learn about that man’s experience and [say], ‘What can I do to support you?’” concludes Nathaan Demers, PsyD, VP of Clinical Programs and Strategic Partnerships, Grit Digital Health.

What This Means For You

Dads give a lot to their families and to their communities. They deserve a day of appreciation and celebration. Take the time to find out what’s important to your dad, and what concerns or struggles he has. The extra effort to find a gift that helps him can be just the encouragement he needs.

6 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Entrepreneur. Father's Day Gifts by the Numbers (Infographic).

  2. University Health News. Sad Truth: Depression Symptoms in Men Often Go Unrecognized.

  3. National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse. Parental Burnout: It's Real and It's Manageable.

  4. Ipsos Public Affairs. Fatherhood and Social Connections.

  5. Pew Research Center. Most dads say they spend too little time with their children; about a quarter live apart from them.

  6. University of Minnesota. How Does Your Personal Environment Impact Your Wellbeing?