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  • Dr. Shari-ann James

Paternal Postnatal Depression

In the spirit of the increasingly popular Movember, where specific attention is placed on men’s health and wellness in the month of November, it is important to highlight an aspect of mental health that is often overlooked. While awareness of postpartum depression in women is thankfully growing, paternal postnatal depression (PPND) is often overlooked or unheard of. Paternal postnatal depression can impact 1 in 10 men, which may not seem like a statistic requiring a sense of urgency. However the mental health and wellbeing of fathers is very important as it impacts not only the development of the child, but the overall wellness of the family.

Symptoms of PPND in men include

  • Tiredness, headaches and pain

  • Anger, anxiety and irritability

  • Decrease in libido

  • Appetite fluctuations

  • Feelings of being overwhelmed, out of control and unable to cope

  • Risk taking tendency

  • Changes to sleep patterns, especially a lack of sleep

  • Feelings of isolation and disconnection from partner, friends or family

  • Increased hours of work

  • Increased use of alcohol and other drugs

Risk Factors

  • History of depression

  • Martial/relationship conflict or dissatisfaction

  • Wife/partner’s diagnosis of postpartum depression

  • Lower socio-economic status

  • Feelings of exclusion between mother and baby connection

  • Minimal social support

  • Parental distress

PPND is temporary and treatable. If left untreated it can have long-term consequences for your emotional wellbeing, as well as for the child and the family as a whole. If you, or someone you know, is experiencing these symptoms, please reach out to a mental health professional trained in these issues.

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