Perinatal Mental Heath can involve ante-natal, baby blues, post natal depression (PND), postpartum (puerperal psychosis), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in relation to bringing a child into the world.
Depression can hit up to around one in five fathers by the time the child reaches adolescents. In a published report in 2015, it states that at least 10% of fathers will suffer with PND, which can include the birth itself and up to a year after. Fathers can develop lots of complications in PND, and can influence their daily lives as well as affect their role within their family unit. It can impact heavily on their relationships, financial stability alongside life style and emotional states. Emotional problems and psychological health needs, are crucial elements to PND in Fathers and needs to addressed. Fathers tend to get forgotten at this important and life changing event of having a baby, with Mother and child being the centre of care delivery. Fathers often get pushed aside which can result in feelings of isolation, anxiety and confusion.
We know that services in women's health have developed screening for expectant Mothers and offer support to those who are identified as being at risk of developing PND after the birth of their child.
Dads Matter UK is suggesting that the health service needs to develop a process for the screening and detecting of PND in fathers. As many fathers, the figures suggest, suffer with PND post birth of the child. The birth of a new baby can cause problems such as poor sleep, anxiety and stress. This can lead to problems within the relationship and fundamental communication processes within that relationship. At Dadsmatteruk we are primarily concerned with the health of the father and their families. We feel that PND in fathers is equally significant and requires important consideration when implementing strategies and screening tools for PND. Fathers suffering with PND can feel increasingly pushed out and unsure of their role within the family thus affecting the bonding and attachment process between father and child.
Screening is important for men, as they are less likely to seek help and support. Particularly, in relation to their health problems. Due to the associated stigma towards mental health and its associated issues, young fathers are even more likely to be at risk and not seek the help they need. Men are often reluctant to admit that they may have an emotional problems or are un likely to admit to feeling out of control. If this is area of health is not addressed adequately this could lead to further breakdowns in the family structure and have long lasting devastating outcomes for our children.
We run the risk of letting our UK fathers down at a time when we need to build strong families and communities for our future generations. Identifying the right support and providing improved health care inn relation to PND and Perinatal Mental Health is a top priority so lets ensure our health services have the right tools and services available to help and support fathers in relation to PND. When screening for PND in fathers we must be mindful to remember that individuals are unique and have developed different styles to coping. It is important to respect the individual, involve them in their care and offer support to them as a person rather than just treat the illness.
Dads Matter UK is launching this week on Fathers Day.