Men and Postnatal Depression
The prevalence of PND among men is not clear and is given little recognition. Many of the experiences of becoming a parent also present challenges for men and PND is a reality for some. Often partners are suffering in silence, perhaps with even less strategies or supports for dealing with how they feel. It is important that they receive the same assessment and treatment as recommended for women.
If the partner is the main carer of the new mother with PND he will be dealing with added pressures and concerns. Juggling work and family demands while dealing with his own transition to fatherhood are made more complex by living with a depressed person and not knowing how and when to help. Fathers need to protect themselves because they too are then at increased risk of developing depression. There are many things that a father can do to look after himself and to ensure that his needs are not neglected:
Look after his own health needs.
- Don't be afraid or embarrassed to share the problem with family and friends.
- Talk to a professional if things are getting on top of him.
- Accept help from everyone to support him getting through the challenging time.
- Stay active by keeping up sports and hobbies that will relieve tension and keep him healthy. Avoid time consuming activities as these may add stress to an already stressful situation.
- Try to find time to go out together on a regular basis.
- Make time for himself to keep up with his friends and have time away from family.
- Accept that there will be some people who do not understand the situation.
- Be prepared to accept the anger and frustration of his partner without taking it personally.
- Try not to confuse his need for closeness and intimacy with his desire for sex.
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