Postnatal depression is usually something that is associated with new mothers. However, with a significant proportion of new fathers now suffering from depression, it is important that the problem is recognized and effective treatments are provided, not only for the fathers well being, but also for the child’s.
A recent survey found that the babies of depressed men are twice as likely to suffer from behavioral problems in later years, than those whose fathers are not depressed. It also suggested that boys of depressed fathers appeared twice as likely as other boys to develop behavioural problems by the age of three and a half.
Postnatal depression is said to affect about one mother in 10 but is less well recognised, and more controversial, in new fathers. Different research has found that 3-10% of men are affected. A lot of focus is on the mother and baby with fathers being left out of the picture. There isn’t much support for men and there is no encouragement for them to speak out about how they are feeling.
Paul Ramchandani, an Oxford University psychiatrist, wrote in the paper, which was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry this month. “Depression in fathers seems specifically related to behavioural and peer relationship difficulties”, and this is why today’s culture needs to encourage men suffering from postnatal depression to seek council.