Postnatal depression is not exclusive to women. In fact, a recent study shows that 10 percent of men will suffer from the medical condition following the birth of a baby.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a new study on postnatal depression shows that men are being overlooked when it comes to suffering from depression after the birth of a new baby. Though fathers are less likely to experience postnatal depression, commonly referred to as the “Baby Blues,” it is still an issue that should be addressed on a larger scale.
Deputy director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Dr. Daryl Higgins, says that men are especially susceptible to psychological issues following the birth of a baby. He says that it is great that fathers are more invested in their children’s lives. However, it can be a “double edged sword.” He also notes that some of the mental anxiety can begin even before the baby is born.
“It’s a very positive thing that fathers are much more engaged with child rearing, but if a father is experiencing mental health issues it is potentially a double-edged sword. Some men struggle to come to terms with the reality of pregnancy and the need to support their partner through the childbirth process, leading to stress among expectant fathers.”
Higgins says part of the problem is a lack of support in the fathering community. He notes that many women can find support through birthing and parent groups and potentially parental leave. However, many men lack these resources. In addition to a lack of support groups, it was noted that many mental health providers do not recognize men as part of the family unit; therefore, pre- and postnatal anxiety disorders are often overlooked.
The Daily Mail notes that Higgins found that a transition to parenthood was a time of heightened risk for men developing depression.
“The transition to parenthood appears to be a time of heightened risk of fathers developing depression, compared to the general adult male population. While fathers are still far less likely than mothers to experience postnatal depression, we are beginning to realize that it is an important issue for men, too.”
It was noted that between 12 and 15 percent of women experience postnatal depression, whereas, roughly 10 percent of men suffer from the disorder.
What do you think should be done to address postnatal depression in men? Do you think support and birthing groups for fathers are beneficial?