More than 1 in 3 new fathers (38%) are concerned about their mental health, according to new research from NCT.
Concern about their partner is another worry for new fathers with almost three quarters (73%) of dads worried about their partner’s mental health.
The pressures of fatherhood, extra financial responsibility, changes in relationships and lifestyle, combined with lack of sleep and increased workload at home, can all affect new fathers’ mental wellbeing. Whatever the cause, NCT says it’s important that men are encouraged and supported to speak up about their experiences, if not to their partner, then to their family, friends or GP.
Dr Sarah McMullen, Head of Research for NCT said: ‘We recognise the huge impact having a baby can have on dads as well as mums. 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. Dads sometimes feel uncomfortable about opening up about their feelings but we would encourage them to do so and seek the support they need.’
The RCM’s professional advisor for education, Michelle Lyne, said: ‘The woman and baby will always of course be the main priority and focus of the midwife’s care. However, this survey does highlight an issue that we all need to be aware of.
‘Maternity services are making great strides in taking a whole family approach to care. They recognise the significant and important role that fathers have in supporting their partner throughout and after pregnancy’.
During 2013-2014, NCT conducted a mixed-methods longitudinal research study of first-time mothers’ and fathers’ experiences and attitudes during the first two years following the birth of their baby. NCT invited men and women to complete online questionnaires at two time points: one during their baby’s first year (6-9 months), the other one year later (18-21 months). In total, 869 first-time mothers and 296 first-time fathers responded in full to the first questionnaire when their babies were on average eight months old.
To read more click here.