Pregnancy

Dads Are Taking On More Childcare — And Developing Depression Because Of It

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postnatal depression in menIn our evolving era of equal partnerships, shifting gender roles, and frankly dads who actually care about looking after kids, much has changed. Many women and men of this generation are looking at all kinds of modifications in the home that their parents never had to encounter. And yet, because modern fathers have been taking a more active role in the home and sharing childcare responsibilties, there is another component to parenthood that men are also now sharing: postpartum, or rather postnatal, depression.

The Telegraph reports that a study recently determined that 9.7% of fathers suffer from postnatal depression during the first year of their child’s life, right up there with 9.4% of mothers. Young dads under 30 are reportedly 40% more likely to develop depression than older papas. The culprit? Dealing with the same responsibilities that have traditionally been relegated to women, including such staples as “lacking in sleep” and “juggling roles and responsibilities.”

Because of the dangers in any mental health issue going unresolved, researchers advocate extending postnatal checkups to fathers to keep an eye out for depressive symptoms:

“It is recommended that routine screening for mental health difficulties also be extended to fathers in the postnatal period, and the capacity of practitioners working in early parenting settings strengthened to respond to the specific needs of fathers.”

But given what responsibilities are ultimately plaguing new fathers, those “specific needs” don’t seem all that gender specific.

(photo: dundanim/ Shutterstock)