Postpartum depression in males

Male with head against the window looking down

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression (PPD) is also defined as an episode of major depressive disorder (MDD) that begins shortly after the birth of a child. It’s commonly reported in mothers but can also occur in fathers. In fact, 1 in 10 men experience PPD yet the condition is less understood when it relates to males.

Watch the video above to see Arthur Cauty’s documentary, ‘Man Down’, which shines a light on postpartum depression in men by raising concerns about the absence of support available to new fathers.

‘’As a male, you haven’t done that much, but bringing a child into the world it’s just as powerful for you as it is for the mother’’ – Silver Levy-So

Why does postpartum depression affect men?

  • Extra responsibility
  • Change of routine and lifestyle
  • Financial pressure
  • Stress on the relationship with the mother
  • Tiredness
  • If his partner is also suffering from postpartum depression

‘’I suffer from anxiety, it’s almost like I have to disconnect from these really emotional situations in order to keep myself going and having a child on the way is a big shock.’’ – Silver Levy-So

What are the symptoms of paternal depression?

  • Feeling sad and hopeless
  • Constant exhaustion or numbness
  • Not wanting to do anything
  • Feeling unable to cope
  • Feeling guilty for not being happy or coping
  • Worrying you don’t look after your child enough
  • Being easily irritated
  • Crying or wanting to cry more than usual
  • Not eating
  • Binge eating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Lack of interest in partner or baby
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Thoughts about harming yourself

‘’As a man with a lot of psychological disposition, the first few days are horrendous. You’re now living all of those thing that you were worried about. Living up to all those expectations, being the strong role model and father figure, it’s hard’’ – Silver Levy-So

Self-help techniques

Looking after yourself can be easier said than done with a newborn around so make sure you accept help from those around you who offer and make sure to do the following:

  • Keep active
  • Get rest
  • Make time for you time
  • Not to complete daily tasks all at once
  • Take things slow

When to get help

While it’s natural to feel weary and nervous as a new parent, if you’ve been feeling sad for a long time and it’s becoming too much, it’s time to get help.

We understand that realising you need help is one thing, but we also understand that telling someone else and getting that support may be quite difficult. No one will think you’re weak for seeking help if you require it.

Where can dads go to for support with depression?

Firstly, go to your GP, one of the dedicated mental health organisations and support groups such as:

Mind
You can contact Mind’s Infoline 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday on 0300 123 3393.
Text them on 86463, or email info@mind.org.uk

CALM
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) offer support to any man who is down or in crisis online, over the phone on 0800 58 58 58, or on webchat.

PANDAS Dads
PANDAS Dads have a private Facebook support group to help dads going through and anxiety and/or those who are supporting their partner with perinatal mental illness

Samaritans
Day or night, Samaritans are there if you need to talk. Call them on 116 123.

SMS4dads
SMS4dads gives dads information and connects them to online services by text. As well as this, every three weeks you get an interactive ‘How’s it going?” message. Give it a try.

Information taken from: Scarff J. R. (2019). Postpartum Depression in Men. Innovations in clinical neuroscience, 16(5-6), 11–14.

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