International Father’s Mental Health Day – The need to celebrate fathers

International Father’s Mental Health Day – The need to celebrate fathers

June 18, 2019

International Father’s Mental Health Day – The need to celebrate fathers

Depression Mental Health

Post-partum depression in new fathers common

Nearly 6 million men struggle with depression every year, according to the Mental Health America (MHA). However, in majority of the cases, this depression remains undiagnosed and thus untreated. In comparison to women, who feel worthless and sad when depressed, men tend to get fatigued, irritable, aggressive, or lose interest in work or hobbies. Though, there are various types of depression and these are well known, a type that is discussed less commonly is paternal post-partum depression (PPPD). PPPD is experienced by almost 10 percent new dads in America. The number increases to 50 percent if the mother is also experiencing post-partum depression (PPD).

Recognizing the need to initiate a conversation on PPPD and mental health in men, June 17, 2019 is being observed as the International Father’s Mental Health Day (IFMHD). Founded by Mark Williams and Daniel Shingley in 2016, the objective of commemorating this day is to disseminate awareness about the early detection and management of PPPD. It also encourages families to adopt a father-inclusive approach to mental health so that the fathers can be taken care of and are able to play their role in a child’s upbringing in an effective manner.

PPPD is real

Seeing your baby for the first time and taking it in your arms is an experience of a lifetime; a moment of pure bliss and joy. However, over time, the reality sets in and one realizes that babies are not only play, but a lot of hard work also. This reality manifests in the form of sleepless nights caused by attending to a screaming infant who needs constant attention. The sleep deprivation results in tiffs with the partner, increased levels of stress, short concentration span, and going to work, fatigued.

Things tend to worsen gradually. The father starts panicking or feeling anxious and may experience panic attacks. Slowly, one might start withdrawing from the partner and the baby and resort to alcohol and substance abuse. These are the common signs of depression in men which if ignored can get complicated and affect one’s quality of life.

Getting over PPPD

Parenting is hard work and it may change a man in many ways. It may bring out the best or worst traits in a father. However, it is important to note that one is not alone. By reaching out to others and practicing some self-help tips, one can alleviate the symptoms of PPPD.

  • Opening up to partner and loved ones – PPD affects both men and women. However, sharing these feelings with the partner might help. They would definitely relate to what one is going through and the realization that the father might also be struggling may soften their approach and make them more empathetic towards you. In addition, one must also talk to their older children, parents, close friends and seek their support, wherever and whenever necessary.
  • Making self-care a priority – Having a baby is one of the milestones of life. However, caring for it might get very demanding and a tad exhausting as well. It might take a toll on a man’s physical as well as his mental health. Therefore, they must devote some time exclusively to self-care which will help him to rejuvenate both physically and mentally. One must ensure that they are taking proper meals, indulging in some sort of regular physical activity, spending some time on activities that they like, like reading, listening to music, etc.
  • Reaching out for professional help – PPPD is real, thus, reaching out for professional support could be a life-changing decision. A professional might help one address their deepest fears, accept their circumstances, and cope with them in an effective way. A professional will also help one enjoy fatherhood, re-establish a strong bond with the partner, work on the bond with the baby, and live a productive life.

Treatment for depression

Parenthood is a blessing, yet, a great deal of work, both physically, as well as psychologically. Caring for the baby, looking after the partner, and co-managing household and office work can get overwhelming. Therefore, one must not shy away from seeking help from a treatment facility for depression when one feels that they are experiencing depressive symptoms.

If you or a loved one is battling depression, feel free to reach out to the Invictus Health Group. We can connect you with reliable residential depression treatment centers for evidence-based treatment programs. Call our mental health treatment helpline 866-548-0190 for more information about inpatient programs for depression. You can also chat online with a representative for further assistance.

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