When we think of Postnatal Depression, we tend to picture mums at home with their baby struggling with their new life. However did you know Dads can experience postnatal depression too?
Postnatal Depression is typically described as depression experienced by parents during the first year after the birth of a child.
However, recent research from the NCT found that more than 1 in 3 new fathers are concerned about their mental health. They say “In general, studies have shown that 1 in 10 dads has PND and fathers also appear to be more likely to suffer from depression three to six months after their baby is born.”
Dads will also feel the extra strain if they’re supporting a partner who is suffering a maternal mental illness. I know from my own experience my husbands mental health suffered after supporting me.
Yet there seems to be a stigma when it comes to dads experiencing postnatal depression, probably more so than the stigma against mums.
Is this why some dads aren’t reaching out? Maybe they don’t feel they have a right to feel this way as the mother is the one who has gone through the the physical, emotional changes and birth? Maybe it’s due to social stigma when it comes to men’s mental health in general?
Maybe there’s a higher percentage of women recorded as suffering because the woman and baby are the main focus after birth and therefore it’s picked up?
We could list many reasons as to why dads aren’t reaching out for help, but what is clear is there needs to be more awareness around the subject.
Mark Williams runs Reaching Out PMH, he campaigns and raises awareness for dads mental health, having previously suffered himself. He states in his blog “The rate of suicide among men aged 30 to 44 years increases around the time of becoming a father.” He also says that Fathers tend to suffer in silence. This year he is launching the first ever ‘International Fathers Mental Health Day’ on 20th June, to raise awareness. You can join him by sharing your thoughts and stories online using #IntFathersMHDay
If you’re a Dad reading this or a partner of someone suffering, have a look at Mark’s website, I think reading about another dads experience can be really helpful, plus there’s some useful links.
If you think you might be suffering you can find some of the common signs and symptoms here.
Remember Dads – you matter too, mental illness can affect the whole family and so it’s just as important that you reach out and speak to your doctor. As I tell many of the mums I speak to, the sooner you reach out for help the sooner you can start to feel better.
If you’re struggling and need someone to speak to you can call Samaritans for FREE on 116 123, they’re open every day 24/7.