FATHERS MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS

It is common for new fathers to experience a combination of excitement, joy, stress, and fear as they transition into parenthood.

NEW FATHERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO:

  • Embrace fatherhood and participate in all aspects of child care
  • Share their emotions and experiences with their partner, close family and friends
  • Stay connected with friends
  • Refuel with a healthy diet and activity level
  • Continue at least one of your healthy outlets for stress

CAUTION, 10% OF NEW FATHERS

experience symptoms of depression that interfere with their life at home and work. Common symptoms of Paternal Perinatal Depression (PPD) include:

  • Depressed and/or irritable mood
  • Negative self-talk / Loss of selfconfidence
  • Avoidance and isolation
  • Thoughts of escape or death
  • Excessive guilt
  • Fatigue / low energy
  • Impaired concentration
  • Change in appetite/weight
  • Disrupted sleep

NEW FATHERS ARE AT RISK OF PPD IF THEY HAVE ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING:

  • Personal history of Major Depressive Disorder
  • Wife has Postpartum Depression
  • Previous pregnancy loss
  • Relationship dissatisfaction
  • Job dissatisfaction/loss

NEW FATHERS TEND TO COPE WITH DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS BY:

  • Dismissing negative emotions
  • Avoiding family, people, work
  • Increasing time spent at work
  • Anger outbursts
  • Increase consumption of food, alcohol, marijuana, etc.

The good news is that more and more fathers are asking for help!

IT IS IMPORTANT FOR FATHERS WITH PPD TO

seek help because untreated PPD can negatively affect the whole family. If one partner is depressed the other partner is more likely to become depressed (‘Dual Depression’) and it becomes more difficult to treat.

Fathers who are depressed are less engaged with their children and have more relationship difficulties. Children of fathers who were depressed during or after pregnancy have an increased risk of developing behavioural and emotional difficulties in childhood and adolescence.

We hope that treating mental illness in fathers will also improve the well-being of their children.