What About Paternal Depression?

Mental Health

By Joy Stephenson-Laws & the pH health care professionals

We’ve heard about maternal depression but not much about paternal depression! About 13 percent of pregnant women and new mothers experience depression, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. But have you ever thought about how many expectant and new dads experience depression? A new study uncovers some of the reasons for paternal depression.

Published in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers studied more than 3,500 men in New Zealand and found 2.3 percent of expectant dads were depressed during their partner's’ pregnancy, and 4.3 percent of dads were depressed nine months after their child was born.

What are some reasons for paternal depression?

Both the expectant dads and postpartum dads were more likely to be depressed if they felt stressed or if they were in poor health.

The 9 months postpartum dads were also more likely to be depressed if they were no longer in a relationship with the mother, unemployed or had a history of depression.

So what do they suggest?

“Identifying fathers most at risk of depression and when best to target interventions may be beneficial to men and their families,” the researchers wrote. In other words, knowing some of the common triggers that affect expectant and new dads can help us be proactive in helping them!

What are some common symptoms of depression?

Some symptoms of depression include:

  • Ongoing sad, anxious or empty feelings.
  • Feeling hopeless.
  • Feeling guilty, worthless or helpless.
  • Feeling irritable or restless.
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once found enjoyable, including sex.
  • Feeling tired all the time.
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details or making decisions.
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, a condition called insomnia or sleeping all the time.
  • Overeating or loss of appetite.
  • Thoughts of death and suicide or suicide attempts.
  • Ongoing aches and pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease with treatment.

 What resources are available for people with depression?

To locate treatment services in your area, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration treatment referral helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). SAMHSA also has a Behavioral Health Treatment Locator on its website that can be searched by location. You can also visit: Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Mental Health America and National Alliance on Mental Illness. You may find local treatment available in your state’s universities and medical school programs.

Click here for a collection of resources including treatment options, clinical trials and education.

If you are in crisis, and need immediate support or intervention, call 1-800-273-8255 or go the website of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Are there natural options for boosting your mood?

Some options to discuss with your counselor or health care provider include:

Did you know minerals can help you be fight depression? We have a whole chapter on minerals and depression, along with other top health concerns, in our book Minerals - The Forgotten Nutrient: Your Secret Weapon for Getting and Staying Healthy.

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, health care attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.


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