THE BLOG

Postnatal Depression in Men? Trust Me It Happened to Me

18/08/2014 12:55 BST | Updated 15/10/2014 10:59 BST

I bet your thinking how can a man possibly have postnatal depression, well it happened to me and it was the reason why I set up Fathers Reaching out.

People say Mental health has a stigma attached, but a man with postnatal depression than trust me that's hard. Postnatal depression in men, while any depression in the first 12 months of a baby being born is diagnosed as "Postnatal Depression". Having gone through the experience in 2004 with my wife Michelle didn't have any idea that someone could really became depressed, let alone a man having postnatal depression. But I didn't really know until 2011 when I had the same feeling of those in 2004 that I was really depressed.

When it comes to postnatal depression people automatically think its a women and that's the hardest part for men to really come forward for help. Its an illness that happens in the first 12 months after the birth, so maybe it should be called depression instead for men. It was my wife server depression that had the knock on effect on my own mental wellbeing, as both of us had never suffered with any mental illness before and didn't understand it ourselves. Depression can hit anyone. I had to give up my work and look after my wife and new born son and then had to deal with the money worries which that brought from being off work. The worst part was the isolation which was unbearable.

Depression is an illness and people shouldn't be afraid to talk about it. We didn't ask for it, our life was great. It happened like a switch going on.I strongly feel that even though there is more support now for women in this situation there is not much support for men. Men don't talk about their feelings and shouldn't be afraid if they need help. It took me 7 years until it got to the point I had to seek help and picked up the phone in 2011 for help and it was the best thing I did.

In 2012 I was awarded Inspirational father of the year and Local hero at the Pride of Britain awards. I have written a book about my experience and have appeared on National radio and Television about postnatal depression and men. I set up Fathers Reaching Out and have helped men and women dealing with an illness that effects millions. Families are breaking up due to this illness and children are being effected due to lack of support.

So one thing I will say..ignore the stigma like me and pick up the phone and get help.