Whilst the rates of mental health problems in dads is not necessarily greater than at other times in a man’s life, their risk of stress and becoming distressed is increased in the months following becoming a dad.
After a few months of doing the dad thing, I found myself not feeling right. I was very irritable. I found myself grudgingly doing things that my daughter needed. It was bad but I attributed it to lack of sleep or something.
My husband has post-natal depression. It’s easy to talk about it now but when he first told me five months ago that he thought he may need some help, it’s fair to say I was at a complete loss as to what to do or say.
If however, your partner is experiencing a mental health condition, then living with, and caring for a partner who may be struggling can take its toll.
Trying to provide emotional and practical support, whilst also holding down your work can increase the level of stress that you may experience. If this continues over time, this is likely to become more distressing and increase your own risk of developing postnatal depression. In fact men are fifty percent more likely to develop postnatal depression if their partners have this condition.
This is also likely to be the case for the other more severe mental health conditions like bipolar disorder and puerperal psychosis, which generally requires dads to take on a full-time role caring for their partner and family until their partner seeks treatments and recovers.