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Dads Mental Health – Overview

Anxiety, Depression and PTSD in Dads

Official statistics recognise only 10% of dads suffer from postnatal depression but a study by the National Childbirth Trust (NC) in June 2015 found many 1 in 3 dads (38%) are worried about their own health and 3 in 4 dads (73%) are worried about the health of their partner.

Anxiety

Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life. For example, you may feel worried and anxious about being a dad or if they’re going to be good enough like mothers experience. During times like these, feeling anxious can be perfectly normal.

However, some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily life.

Depression

Men are more likely to recognise and describe the physical symptoms of depression (such as feeling tired or losing weight) than women. Men may acknowledge feeling irritable or angry, rather than saying they feel low. Everyone feels ‘down’ occasionally but if you’ve been sad, moody, angry or unable to sleep or concentrate for more than a couple of weeks, it could be depression.

Men tend to use negative coping skills Drink, Drugs, Gambling, fighting and other issues.

Depression is a serious and common condition which won’t get better by itself. If you had a broken arm or a deep cut on your foot, you wouldn’t expect that to heal without medical help. It’s the same with mental illness such as depression, you need to get help and the first point must be your doctor.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Recently there have been many publicised incidents of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder associated with labour and childbirth. We all know that having a baby hurts and whilst for most new mums the pain is soon forgotten for some women it can leave deep psychological scars; that are less related to postnatal depression, but more akin to the anxiety disorder PTSD. For mums PTSD is often triggered by complex or difficult child birth especially when there is a trauma or crises.

At the time of the crisis or trauma men are often ignored as the priority is to provide the help needed for the mother and child. Dads take a back seat doing as instructed without any real understanding other than the person they love and their child are at grave risk. It is not uncommon for Dads to feel anxious and helpless about seeing their loved one going through the ordeal of a traumatic birth. As men tend to hide their feelings then this can be repressed for a long time before emerging much later as PTSD.

Next Steps

If you or your partner think you are suffering from anxiety or are experiencing depression and this has occurred for more than two weeks it could be that you need help.

The sooner you talk to someone and seek help the quicker you will recover. Don’t suffer in silence!

Gateway to services and support

Here you will find access to tools and information for a range of support services

Social Care Services

Peer support and sharing common experiences has been proven to alleviate the symptoms of postnatal depression. Read more here.

Counselling Services

Check our database of private counsellors who have the appropriate training and experience to offer you help either online or face-to-face.

Clinical Services

Health professionals such as GPs, Midwives or Health Visitors as as well as specialist mental health and perinatal mental health services.

Screening and Assessment

Online screening tools to help you to explore your feelings and consider whether you need to seek additional help and support.

Have Some Fun - Wellbeing and Memory Games

Online brain games to exercise your brain skills including: memory, concentration, problem solving, thinking speed and mental flexibility.

Recommended Services

Our list of assessed and evaluated services which we recommend for you.

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