One day after Father’s Day, on June 18 2018, International Father’s Mental Health Day will be raising awareness about male postnatal depression
When society expects dads to be the strong and supportive partner after their baby is born, it can be even harder for them to admit feelings of depression or anxiety.
However, research shows that one in 10 men experience postpartum mental illness. This increases to one in two men if mum is also going through postnatal depression, according to Postpartum Support International (PSI), an organisation which advocates better awareness of postnatal mental health.
For this reason, one dad, Mark Williams, who himself experienced paternal postpartum depression, founded International Father’s Mental Health Day along with fatherhood mental health expert Dr Daniel Singley. The day falls this year on Monday June 18, the day after Father’s Day.
The quicker you get help, the quicker the recovery…You’ve got to look after yourself first, so you can help your family as well
Mark started to feel signs of depression after a traumatic labour. His partner, Michelle, was also affected by postnatal depression after the birth of their son, Ethan. When Mark took time off work to look after her, his own mental health suffered.
After keeping his emotions and thoughts hidden from friends of family, he finally opened up when someone next to him at the gym one day shared their own experience of PND. He found that within a few minutes he had revealed more about his state of mind to a stranger than he had told anyone else.
Mark says: “The quicker you get help, the quicker the recovery…It doesn’t matter who you are, what background you’re from, anyone can suffer. The most important thing is yourself. If you can’t help yourself, you can’t help others anyway. You’ve got to look after yourself first, so you can help your family as well.”