As parent-to-be, most of us accept that parenting is going to be full of tough decisions and sleepless nights, but no one can really prepare us for how it's really going to be. While being a mother or father is without a doubt one of the most rewarding things you can do, it's also one of the hardest. A new study has found that supporting all new parents should be made a priority, no matter their circumstance. The research, published in JAMA Psychiatry, revealed that one in 20 new fathers experience depression following on from the birth of their child, meaning that it's not just reserved for moms.
The study used information from more than 3,000 families in Bristol, UK, initially collected by the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, on ongoing study launched in the early 90s. Researchers discovered that there was a distinct connection between postpartum depression in dads and depression in their daughters in later life. Interestingly, the link was only found between father and daughter, not father and son. Although there's no clear reason why this is the case, there are several theories bounding around. For instance, if one or both parents experience depression, then it can affect how they interact with their newborns.
The study highlights the important need for more research in the area, and the need for lending more support to parents as they make the most important transition in their lives. Mental health issues in men aren't as often discussed as mental health issues in women, with some dads feeling too embarrassed to speak up. Instead of recognizing their problems, it may manifest itself as increased substance abuse, addictive behaviors like drinking and gambling and physical illnesses like headaches and stomach problems. Identifying the possible signs that something isn't right can be the most important factor when it comes to getting the help new fathers need, according to San Diego-based psychologist David Singley.
Do you know any new parents? It might be time to check in and offer a helping hand. After all, it takes a village.