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New Fathers Can Experience Depression as Well!

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Welcoming a new baby into the family is typically a time of great happiness and anticipation for couples. However, approximately 60% of new mothers experience postpartum depression (PPD) to varying degrees, which is a well-documented health concern with extensive information available regarding its symptoms and treatment.

What receives less attention is the fact that new fathers can also grapple with depression. 

While the origins of this depression are often attributed to stress and sleep deprivation rather than hormonal changes, it’s important to acknowledge that men can indeed experience PPD. In fact, research from the JAMA Network indicates that around 10% of new fathers contend with PPD.

Additional research conducted by the APA has also indicated that a “comparable proportion” of new fathers encounter some form of depression following childbirth. Given the similar frequency of depression between new mothers and fathers, it is clear that postpartum depression (PPD) can no longer be regarded as exclusively a women’s issue.

In light of these recent findings, researchers are now recommending routine screenings for signs of depression not only in new mothers but also in new fathers (or expectant parents). This is especially crucial for individuals who have a history of mental health challenges in their own past or within their family lineage.

Causes of Male PPD

A study conducted at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and published in the Journal of Family Issues identified several common factors contributing to PPD in new fathers:

  1. Lack of Awareness: Many fathers were unaware that they could experience PPD and thus disregarded any symptoms they may have been encountering, instead focusing on supporting their partner.

  2. Gender Expectations: Social expectations often pressure men to adopt a “tough guy” persona, suppressing emotional expression.

  3. Suppressed Emotions: Men frequently hesitate to share their emotions, let alone seek assistance for them.

With these recent revelations, it is hoped that more men will pay attention to their emotional well-being and seek help if they sense the onset of depression.

If you are a new father experiencing PPD or know someone who is and would like to explore treatment options, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

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