Why We Need To Talk About Dad’s Mental Health

Dads, becoming a parent can be exciting but also terrifying and stressful. You may feel as if your world is upside down as you bring your newborn home from the hospital and sometimes those feelings may develop into postpartum depression. Can you think of some changes or experiences you have recognized as you transition into parenthood?

Most research has focused solely on mothers transition to parenthood, however, dads experiences have recently been gaining attention. Dads too are faced with several adjustments to parenthood, like mothers, which include an increase in new demands and responsibilities on top of the lack of sleep they are receiving. Dr. Singley discusses paternal postpartum depression and modern changes in fatherhood on his website. These new demands and responsibilities may elicit stress, anxiety and fear, and research has shown this can lead to depression.

Dads, you may have also recognized several other changes that have occurred after your child was born. Research has shown that dads not only face changes in their role (e.g., difficulty balancing your role as a father, partner and employee), but in their relationship with their partner, how often they may see their friends or socialize, and the amount of stress they may feel due to the financial impact of having a child (i.e., children are expensive).

Depression in dads is relatively common and impacts approximately 14% of new fathers. Many men may mask their depression and tend to remain silent about their symptoms and are less likely to seek help for them. Research has shown that the effects of depression can be detrimental to not only men, but their families as well. Check out this article from the Washington Post that highlights just how detrimental depression can be on a family. You may feel like it is difficult to receive help, but you do not have to suffer in silence as you are not alone! Depression is treatable and there are a variety of resources available to you and individuals who are ready to help. Share your story.

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