Nearly one fifth of all women experience postpartum depression. But now a new study reveals men are at a higher risk than previously thought.
According to research from Lund University in Sweden, not only are fathers at greater risk but most cases of depression go undetected and ultimately new fathers aren't receiving the help they need.
The findings, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, studied 447 new Swedish fathers. Modern methods of detecting depression provided mixed results.
"This means that current statistics may not tell the whole truth when it comes to depression in new fathers," says co-author Elia Psouni. "The screening method does not capture symptoms which are particularly common in men, such as irritation, restlessness, low stress tolerance, and lack of self-control."
One third of patients in the study considered self-harm, only a handful considered asking for health. Of those suffering from postpartum depression, 83 per cent had kept the condition to themselves. This compares to between 20 and 50 per cent of women sharing their struggles.
"Among dads, depression is common even at the end of the first year, which may be due to the fact that they rarely get help, but there may be other explanations," continues Psouni. "Whatever the reason, it is important to monitor dads' wellbeing as their part of the parental leave usually occurs towards the end of the child's first year of life."
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