Dr Andrew Mayers
PhD, MBPsS, FRSA
Perinatal mental health: fathers
All too often, husbands and partners are overlooked when it comes to providing support and information on mental health. Evidence suggests that the risk factors, and impact, of perinatal mental health are reduced when mums have a supportive partner. Furthermore, fathers can develop 'perinatal mental health' problems (either as a result of their spouse's/partner's illness or independently). There is often little guidance available for men to understand the causes, risk factors, treatments and prognosis of perinatal mental illness, quite apart from what support they can give to their partner. Fathers also need information on how to improve their own mental health. On this page, you will find some resources that seek to address the gaps in support.
Groups providing support for fathers
It can be a very scary time for a father to witness his partner/wife experience mental illness. It can be even more distressing when the mother is presenting with manic and/or psychotic symptoms. Action on Postpartum Psychosis provide some excellent resources to help partners. Expertly written, the resources have been developed in response to partners requesting help. You can access these resources here.
The Bluebell charity already provides excellent postnatal depression services in the Bristol area. Following some successful funding, Bluebell now also offer support to local fathers, via the Dads Zone. The service includes the opportunity to talk directly to a father whose partner experienced postnatal depression. Similar to Dads Matter UK, the guidance applies to fathers needing help on supporting their partner, and for those needing support for their own mental health.
Every year. the day after Father's Day globally, we mark International Fathers' Mental Health Day (#INTFathersMHDay and #DadsMHDay on Twitter) This is run by the amazing Mark Williams in collaboration with Dr Daniel Singley (USA). I join in as much as I can. This year #INTFathersMHDay occurred on June 19th). You can read my blog about that here. There are some other great blogs too, such as this one by Paul Sutcliffe).