A father has a lasting impression on his children, and with that power comes great responsibility — and stress, too.
Father’s Day is a celebration of all the sacrifices men make every day for their children and spouses. However, new fathers are reportedly one of the most stressed-out communities internationally while also being of the least served by mental health professionals.
Postpartum depression in women is a commonly known mental health issue faced by new parents, but few realize the struggles many new fathers go through silently. Men’s mental health needs are still vastly underdiagnosed in the United States, with more women seeking mental health treatment. But men are also 4 times as likey to commit suicide compared to women.
Why don’t more fathers and men seek the mental health they need?
The Stigma of Men and Mental Health
Mothers are expected to be strong for their families, but the cultural expectations for men to be strong and never waver are deeply embedded in American culture.
On average, about 1 in 10 expecting or new dads experience perinatal anxiety or depression with their first child. When partnered with a mother experiencing a postpartum mood disorder, such as postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety, that number jumps to half of fathers.
However, more than half don’t seek any mental health support for their needs, and about 43% believe postnatal depression and anxiety is a sign of weakness.
Suicide is the second most common cause of death for men under the age of 45, surpassed only by heart disease. However, many men don’t reach out to friends, family, or professionals before taking this ultimate step. In fact, some studies show that men on average develop less intimate friendships than women, giving them less options to open up to in case of emotional or mental crises.
International Father’s Mental Health Day started in 2016 to help break the stigma that fathers must be stoic and never need help. More than 57% of new fathers admit to a significantly increased stress level.
The Effects of Parenthood on Men’s Mental Health
The transition into parenthood for many men is wrought with stress. Traditionally, men were expected to bottle up stress while pulling the financial weight of the home. Now, more of the financial burden is split between partners, but many men still find it difficult to express their feelings, much like their paternal ancestors.
In the last year, parents across the country have seen a sharp decline in mental, physical, and emotional health during the coronavirus pandemic. About 31% of parents nationwide reported their mental health was worse than before the pandemic.
Similarly, about 30% of fathers said the demands of remote learning deeply affected their mental health in the last year.
Help Remove the Stigma of Fathers and Mental Health
When it comes to mental health, no one can fight an uphill battle alone. If you’re a father struggling with depression, postpartum anxiety, or any mood disorder, we’re here to help.
Contact us today to set up an appointment, and help stop the stigma of men being “too strong” to need help.