Men’s Postnatal Mental Health

Men’s mental health

Men’s Postnatal Mental Health

I know… taboo… men talking about mental health. But it needs to be discussed and the stigma needs to be removed. Postnatal depression and anxiety in men is widely undiagnosed, understudied, and doesn’t even have an official criterion. When really depression is estimated of affect around 1 in 10 new fathers and around 25% suffer from anxiety. With an increased likelihood to be affected if their partner experiences postnatal depression. Men often don’t seek help meaning they do not get treated. For woman they are commonly affected early, whereas with men it peaks around three to six months after birth.

For a male, having a child can be extremely stressful. During the pregnancy, birth and first year of baby’s life, the dad can feel vulnerable or unsure. There is a lot of pressure and stress with increased financial burden, helplessness with helping during pregnancy or breast feeding. Often having lack of knowledge and needing to learn so much to care for this child. The official cause for postnatal depression is unknown but there are a wide range of risk factors that contribute. These include being under 25, having a history of depression or anxiety. Also, financial pressure, being separated from the mother, difficulty with pregnancy, or with baby being sick, crying or difficulty sleeping. Drug abuse and having limited practical, emotional, and social support.

Postnatal depression can cause men to be less engaged with their child and be more negative towards or about them. It has also been associated with emotional, social, and behavioural problems with the child having a developmental delay.

The symptoms men feel from postnatal depression are vastly different from what women feel. These may include fear, confusion, loneliness, insomnia, and withdrawing themselves from social, family, and work life. The low mood results in uncertainty, indecisiveness, frustration, irritability, and anger. This can also result in marital conflict, partner violence, negative parenting behaviour as well as alcohol and drug use. With all these side effects it is surprising how few men come forward to be treated.

As you can tell there can be a large toll on family life if ignored or left untreated. The treatment is the same as it is for a woman with postnatal depression. They may have therapy or medication for treatment. If you would like more advice on how to treat postnatal depression continue reading depression the medical side or depression the holistic way.


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