About 70,000 women are affected with postnatal depression per year but findings of a new study have revealed that the baby blues affect men as well.
A new survey from the National Childbirth Trust (NCT), a charity for parents, has found that more than 1 in 3 new fathers, or about 38 percent, are worried about their mental health highlighting that it is not just the mothers who experience postnatal depression and other mental health issues associated with the birth of a baby.
The pressure associated with caring for the baby appears to be experienced by men as well and the increased challenges of fatherhood along with more financial responsibility, lack of sleep and changes in lifestyle and relationship as well as increased responsibilities at home may have an effect on the wellbeing of fathers.
Men are also concerned about the mental health of their partners, which adds up to their worry with NCT finding that nearly 73 percent of new dads worry about their partner's mental health.
Mark Williams of the support group Dads Matter UK, who himself experienced mental health problems when he became a father said that there are a variety of reasons why men have mental health problem after their child's birth. Some experience postnatal depression while some are affected because of the mental health troubles of their partners.
Regardless of the cause, NCT said that new dads should be encouraged and supported to open up about their experience. NCT psychologist Abigail Easter pointed out that the awareness on men's perinatal depression remain low as postnatal depression is often associated with mothers so fathers are often forgotten with almost no specific support available for them.
"Perinatal mental health issues can affect men or women so raising awareness of the specific concerns and questions that dads-to-be or new dads have is crucial," said NCT head of research Sarah McMullen. "Dads sometimes feel uncomfortable about opening up about their feelings but we would encourage them to do so and seek the support they need."
New dads are encouraged to take time for themselves by getting involved in social activities, exercise or hobbies, which they can do for at least an hour, to support their mental well-being. Engaging in daily exercise like swimming and walking with the buggy can also have a positive impact on mood and the sense of well-being.
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