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On the 7th September 2010, the UK Medical Research Council and University College London carried out a study into the depression in both men and women once a baby is born until the child is 12 years old. It showed that 21% of Dads had a depressive episode, and the highest risk being in the child's first year.
If the mum is suffering from postnatal depression, it can then impact on the Dad causing them to also have a depressive episode. When there is a lot of pressure financially, emotionally and physically on the Dad this can cause excessive stress which can then lead to depression. Dads are at a higher risk if they have previously suffered from depression earlier in life.
A considerable factor can be that the balance and focus has shifted in the relationship, all the attention in now taken up on the baby, resulting in not much time as a couple. Also if it is a single Dad, having the full responsibility of caring for a new born baby with no support from a partner or the Mum.
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“I didn't know that men could be affected by their partner giving birth never mind getting postnatal depression”
“Depression is an illness and people shouldn't be afraid to talk about it.”
It is recommended that the Dad can speak to their GP and discuss how they are feeling, and be true about the extent of your feelings. Your GP may recommend attending counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help come to terms with your emotions and understand the triggers points if you are feeling aggressive. Your GP can also prescribe a course of antidepressants to help your mood improve.
Family and friend can play a huge part in helping with recovery, be honest with them about how you are feeling, ask them to look after your baby for a couple of hours to allow you to do an activity you enjoyed previously or socialise with your friends.
You can contact Sure Start who offer support for families, they can inform you of stay and play sessions, and other family groups in your area.
Fathers Reaching Out support men suffering from perinatal mental health illnesses and helps men that are supporting their partner going through the illness.
The mental health of the family matter to making sure children get the best start in live.