ABH Maryland

Mental Health On Father’s Day And What You Need To Know


Mental Health On Father’s Day And What You Need To Know

  • Family

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

father and son

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.

When you think of the well-being of a child, you first think of basic needs: food, water, and shelter. Once these needs are met, however, it’s crucial for a child to have emotional and social wellness as well. In this article, we will explore the impact social wellness has on the overall health of a child and great ways for children to garner social support in their lives.

It comes as no surprise that as human beings, we all need connection with others, no matter what stage of life we are in. In fact, having social support is a social determinant of health (SDOH) that significantly impacts the health of an individual. After spending the last few years in and out of isolation due to the Covid-19 outbreak, social support is more important now than ever before. Having social support means having family members and friends you can talk to and seek advice from when life feels challenging and overwhelming. Knowing you’re not alone in your life journey, especially as a child, creates a sense of belonging and empowerment throughout one’s life.

4 Types of Social Support

Emotional Support. This type of support lets you know that people care about you and have empathy for your experiences. Emotional support often looks like people checking in on you to let you know they’re thinking of you, and that they are there if you need anything. As a parent, make sure your child knows you can be a sounding board for them. If you have family members who can also show up for your children in this way, even better!

Practical Help. This type of support is when people give you something tangible or offer a service to help you out. This could be in the form of money, making food when you are sick, or helping to pack when moving. Having family and friends show up in this way shows your child what it looks like to be present for people you love.

Sharing Points of View. This type of support can often come in the form of affirmations and encouragement. For example, pointing out your child’s strengths to them and reminding them they can do anything they put their mind to. It can also look like sharing another perspective if they are being hard on themselves. For example, if they are angry with themselves after receiving a bad grade on a test, you can help them see it as a learning experience and a way for them to grow.

Sharing Information. This type of support is when someone shares what they’ve learned from their own life experiences. For example, if another parent has a child who struggles with socializing, they can share some tips and tricks they’ve learned to help their child find and create social support.

The Importance of Social Groups and Extended Support

Children who are connected to their family, friends, and people in their community have opportunities to learn how to speak, share, and get along with others. When your child feels connected to people in your neighborhood, it often allows them to feel physically safe which can alleviate stress and worry. Simply riding bikes, going on walks, and saying hello to neighbors with your kids can create this sense of security for them.

In addition to engaging with your neighbors, getting involved in local organizations can also create social support for your child. Signing up for a sports team, musical theater, art class or summer camp are all great ways to help your child meet new friends and learn important social skills that can carry them through their lives.

Tips for Helping Kids Make Community Connections:

Spend time outside in your neighborhood playing on the playground, going to a local farmer’s market, or scheduling a playdate with neighborhood kids.

Show your kids that connection is a two-way street. If your neighbors or friends go out of town, offer to get their mail, or water their plants and take your child with you when you go. This will show your child how you show up for people you care about.

Make sure you make time for socializing with friends as well. Your child looks to you first and foremost for how they should act and live their own life.

Encourage your child to step out of their comfort zone and do something they may be scared to do. As a parent, it’s your job to push them into something social for their own well-being at times.