Having a baby is an event that typically brings a lot of joy and excitement for couples. However, roughly 60% of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression (PPD), with symptoms being either moderate or severe. Fortunately, PPD is a common health issue with much discussion and content outlining the symptoms and treatment.
What’s not commonly discussed is that new fathers can absolutely suffer from depression as well. While this depression is usually caused by stress and lack of sleep, and not hormonal shifts, the fact remains that men can and do suffer from PPD. In fact, according to the JAMA Network, roughly 10% of new fathers suffer from PPD.
Other research by APA has also shown that a “similar proportion” of new fathers experience some form of depression after childbirth. Since the frequency of depression is fairly similar between new mothers and new fathers, PPD can no longer be viewed as a woman’s issue.
Because of these recent findings, researchers are now recommending that both new mothers AND new fathers (or expectant mothers and fathers) get regular screenings for signs of depression. This is especially important in new mothers and fathers with a history of mental health issues in their own past, or in their family lineage.
Causes of Male PPD
A study out of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas published in the Journal of Family Issues found there were a handful of common causes of PPD in new fathers:
Fathers simply didn’t know they could suffer from PPD and so ignored any symptoms they were experiencing, instead of focusing on supporting their partner.
Many men feel the need to be “manly” and act like a “tough guy” that isn’t bothered by emotions.
Men are often reluctant to share their feelings, let alone seek help because of them.
With these new findings, hopefully, more men will pay attention to how they are feeling and seek help should they feel depression creeping on.
If you or a loved one are a new father that is suffering from PPD and would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me.
Chelsy A. Castro, JD, MA, AM, LCSW