Yes, New Fathers Struggle With Depression Too!
Having a baby is an event that typically brings a lot of joy and excitement for couples. However, roughly 60% of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression (PPD) or another mood and anxiety disorder, with symptoms being either moderate or severe. Fortunately, Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) are a common health issue with much discussion and content outlining the symptoms and treatment.
What’s not commonly discussed is that new fathers can absolutely suffer from depression or a mood and anxiety disorder as well. In fact, according to the JAMA Network, roughly 10% of new fathers suffer from PPD.
Other research by APA has also shown that a “similar proportion” of new fathers experience some form of mood and anxiety disorder after childbirth. Since the frequency of PMADs are fairly similar between new mothers and new fathers, PMADs can no longer be viewed as a woman’s issue.
Because of these recent findings, researchers are now recommending that both new mothers AND new fathers (or expectant mothers and fathers) get regular screenings for signs of PMADs. This is especially important in new mothers and fathers with a history of mental health issues in their own past, or in their family lineage.
Causes of Male PDD
A study out of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas published in the Journal of Family Issues found there were a handful of common causes of PPD in new fathers:
Fathers simply didn’t know they could suffer from PPD or PMADs and so ignored any symptoms they were experiencing, instead of focusing on supporting their partner.
Many men feel the need to be “manly,” act like a “tough guy” that isn’t bothered by emotions, suppose to be “the rock,” be there to hold her hand, be the babysitter, don’t know what they are doing, and need to check everything with the “lead parent.”
Men are often reluctant to share their feelings, let alone seek help because of them. As well as the stigma about seeking and getting help.
With these new findings, it is important that men to seek help when they are struggling with their mental health. If you or a loved one are a new father that is suffering from PPD or other mood and anxiety disorders, and would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me.