Two in five new dads concerned about mental health problems, survey says

Sharon Mollerus (CC BY 2.0)

Sharon Mollerus (CC BY 2.0)

We often hear about how postpartum depression affects new mothers, but what about fathers? According to The Guardian, two in five dads are concerned about their mental health.

Haroon Siddique via The Guardian:

Around two in five of new fathers are concerned about their mental health, according to a survey, which highlights that it is not just mothers whose wellbeing is at risk after having a child.

Parenting charity NCT, which carried out the research, said extra responsibilities, changes in relationships and lifestyle, and the inevitable sleep deprivation are among the factors that can impact on men’s mental health.

It said the results, published on Thursday ahead of Father’s Day, illustrate the importance of men being encouraged to speak up about their experiences.

NCT psychologist Dr Abigail Easter said: “Awareness of perinatal depression among fathers unfortunately remains low. Postnatal depression is typically associated with mothers and often fathers are forgotten during this important time, with almost no specific support available to men.

“Sadly, stigma around mental health still exists and many men may find it difficult to confide in others about how they are feeling. It may be particularly difficult for dads to open up following the birth of their baby when there are additional expectations on new fathers.”

Easter said that mothers were given more opportunities to seek help and there were more services available to them. So, even when some dads were willing to talk about their depression, they might not know where to get help.

Just as men are advised at antenatal classes to keep an eye on their partner’s mental health during and after pregnancy, women should be urged to do the same, said Easter.

“Mums should look out for warning signs such as their partners feeling unable to cope, not sleeping or crying,” she said. “If women think their partners are struggling, then opening up a dialogue is often the first step to helping men access appropriate support.”

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