Queensland Health is shining a spotlight on mental health and wellbeing of new dads this Fathers Day, with data showing that one in 10 Australian men experience symptoms following the birth of a new child.
Queensland Health Chief Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Officer Dr John Reilly says while it was widely known that depression related to pregnancy and birth could affect mothers, fathers were also at risk.
“It’s estimated that each week more than 100 new dads are affected by postnatal psychological distress in Queensland.”
“Nothing can really prepare you for the birth of your first child – along with feelings of happiness and excitement can come feelings of apprehension, anxiety, exhaustion and guilt.”
“The new pressures of fatherhood, including expectations of your own and others, a lack of sleep and a changing relationship with your partner are just a few things that could contribute to feelings of anxiety or depression.”
“Keeping an eye on yourself and accepting your reactions rather than expecting something different is a good starting point. It is also important to recognise any symptoms of depression such as feeling down, trouble thinking clearly and less concentration.”
Dr Reilly says it’s important for new Dads to remember they are not alone and there is always support available.
First time father Dan Smith says sleep was probably the biggest challenge and hardest thing to nail following the birth of his son, Eddie.
“My role with our new born son was more of a supporting role for my partner than anything else.”
“Initially, I found it a little bit hard as my role seemed to drastically change overnight. But slowly I realised that this was as it was meant to be.”
“Sleep was probably the biggest challenge and hardest thing to nail. It effects everything from how you deal with work to how you talk to your partner and make decisions.”
“My feelings of preparedness have changed over time. I initially felt great and just a sense of wonder and now I feel the importance of my role in his life every day.”
The advice from Dr Reilly-If you think you may be showing signs of postnatal depression, don’t suffer in silence – speak to a loved one or your doctor. Alternatively, you can phone Beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.