What about fathers

Only mothers can formally be diagnosed with postnatal depression. However, studies suggest that fathers can also experience depression after the birth of a child. Research suggests that between 1 and 4 percent of men experience depression during the first year after the birth of a child.

Some new fathers appear to be more vulnerable to depression than others. Being young, unemployed and/or poor when the child is born increases the risk of depression after becoming a dad. It may be that young fathers are more at risk because being young might mean that it is less likely the child was planned. A young dad might therefore not feel ready to take on the new responsibilities that come with fatherhood.

If the new mother is depressed, this might make the role as a father more stressful, which in turn can add to the risk of experiencing depression.

Other possible causes include increased responsibility; the expense of having children and the change in lifestyle that it brings; the changed relationship with their partner; as well as lack of sleep and the increased workload at home.

Few services exist for men, although awareness and understanding of this problem is improving slowly.

Previous page Next page