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Understanding Perinatal Depression and Anxiety for Dads

Becoming a dad is a unique and special time but is also a time of great change. The stigma surrounding men’s mental health can prevent dads from seeking help, with almost half (43%) of first-time dads believing postnatal depression and anxiety is a sign of weakness1.

Around 10% of dads experience mental health problems in the first year, following the birth of their child and 57% of first-time dads admit to experiencing significantly increased stress levels1.

Over half (56%) of new dads do not seek support during stressful times. Since men are three times more likely to take their own lives2, Gidget Foundation Australia encourages dads who are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or depressed to reach out for help.

“For men, symptoms of perinatal depression and anxiety can present differently than in women, although there are some similarities. They include the inability to enjoy activities like they used to, being less able to concentrate, make decisions or get things done.” (Dr David Moore, GP)

PNDA can affect dads from all socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures, as they adjust to changes in their lives and the additional pressures. For some dads, the expectation to provide financial stability for their family can seem overwhelming. The symptoms of depression or anxiety can lead to a sense of disappointment – like they’ve let themselves or others down.

According to Dr David Moore, the good news is that dads do benefit from receiving professional help and they can recover. “It’s important to seek guidance as soon as possible. Fathers who are experiencing parenthood adjustment issues can benefit from the support from a professional who listens and understands,” he says.

Gidget Foundation Australia encourages dads to reach out for emotional support to understand what is happening to them, to feel well again and in turn be able to enjoy time with their children and partner. Dads are encouraged to watch the video ‘Understanding Perinatal Depression and Anxiety for Dads’ and contact their GP to gain a mental health plan if they need some extra support.

1https://www.beyondblue.org.au/docs/default-source/research-project-files/bw0313-beyondblue-healthy-dads-full-report.pdf
2Patton GC, Coffey C, Posterino M, Carlin JB, Bowes G: Life events and early onset depression: cause or consequence? Psychological Medicine 2003, 33(7):1203-1210

“As a GP, I regularly see patients affected by perinatal depression and anxiety. Many people don’t realise that PNDA can affect fathers too. This video helps raise awareness about PNDA for Dads and highlights what symptoms to look for. Gidget FoundationAustralia plays a vital role in supporting parents and reminding dads that GPs can help you develop a treatment plan if you are experiencing PNDA.” Danielle McMullen, President AMA (NSW)

PLEASE ENTER YOUR DETAILS IN THE FORM BELOW TO DOWNLOAD THE FREE DADS VIDEO

Dads can feel challenged admitting to emotional strain. This video can help reduce the stigma around their needs.

Dr Alice Dwyer, Consultant Psychiatrist

Being a dad is just as big a deal as being a mum. The Gidget Foundation is here for all parents.

Dr David Moore, GP

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Proudly Supported By

NSW Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW, Industry & Trade, The Honourable John Barilaro MP says:

“There’s no rule book to being a parent, each person’s journey is personal and unique. When my wife and I experienced two miscarriages we avoided talking about it for a long time. As a husband, you struggle but you don’t want to show weakness in front of your family or in front of your peers, so you sort of pretend and move on. This is the opposite of what you should be doing. It’s so important to reach out to somebody and breakdown those barriers and obstacles that prevent us from speaking openly about how we feel.”

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