We now understand some fathers develop postnatal depression (PND). Around 3-10% of men will experience depression during the postnatal period. Many people think that men experience paternal postnatal depression (PPND) as a result of, or in conjunction with, their partner’s depression, but men can experience this independently from their partners. Although PND in mothers is the strongest predictor of partners having it too, it doesn’t always happen this way.
Depression in new fathers has been found to begin before the birth of their child, with minimal recovery by the end of the first year. There’s also evidence to suggest that men’s depression increases between six weeks and six months after childbirth. For example, one study found that 3 out of 10 men were depressed at six weeks, and that their depression got worse during the next six months.
It is important to speak with a close family member or a friend and your GP and Health visitor. You do not need to suffer alone and there are a number of treatment approaches available to help you make a full recovery.
A mental health campaigner for fathers, Mark Williams lived with PND, alongside taking care of his wife with the very same condition – please visit happiful.com to read his story and to read his story.
Please do not suffer alone, speak to your Public Health Nurse (Health Visitor) or GP to get support and help.
You may also find the Fatherhood Institute a useful website to visit.