Can men get postnatal depression?

Many people associate postnatal depression with new mums. But did you know that postnatal depression is also said to affect one in 10 men too?

Postnatal depression is a type of depression that many parents experience after having a baby, and it can affect women, men, and partners. With this in mind, if you find yourself struggling with your mental health as a new father, it’s important to recognise it and seek help as quickly as possible.

But why do men sometimes feel overwhelmed and depressed after the birth of their child?

Although becoming a father is one of the greatest feelings in the world, it also signals a period of change, which can feel overwhelming, challenging and tiring as you get to know your new baby and your new life. After all, this tiny new person will rely on you to provide for them and help them find their way in the world.

It’s a big change and it’s only natural that it may take some getting used to – it’s nothing to be ashamed of and it doesn’t mean you love your new addition any less.

Some of the factors that can spark postnatal depression in men:

Getting used to extra responsibility - having a baby is a life-changing event. Your baby now comes first and this can mean making changes to your life that can feel overwhelming.

Change to routine and lifestyle – from the moment your baby is born, he or she will rely on you for everything. With this in mind, your daily routine and lifestyle will have to change, probably in ways you’d never imagined. This can be a lot to come to terms with.

Financial pressure – It’s amazing how much stuff a tiny human needs, especially when all they do is sleep and eat. The financial pressures of having a baby can cause a lot of pressure and lead to postnatal depression.

Stress on the relationship – Lack of sleep, financial pressures and changes to lifestyle and routine can also put a lot of stress on a relationship which in turn, can lead to men developing postnatal depression.

What are the signs of postnatal depression in men?

It’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of postnatal depression, including the following;

  • A persistent feeling of sadness
  • A constant low mood
  • Being easily irritated
  • Crying or wanting to cry more than usual
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Experiencing panic attacks
  • Binge eating
  • Lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the things you used to love
  • Lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Problems concentrating and making decisions
  • Frightening thoughts

When to get help?

If you experience any of the symptoms above, it’s important that you seek professional help as quickly as possible. You should never feel embarrassed about seeking help and support through this huge period of change, and although, it can sometimes be difficult to open up, realising you have a problem and talking about it is key to a successful recovery. Also, if you know someone else who is suffering from depression then see our tips on how to help someone with depression.

Don't forget that there are lots of people you can turn to for help and support including counsellors, mental health organisations and support groups dedicated to helping new dads with post-natal depression. However, your first port of call should always be your GP, who will point you in the right direction.