It’s been a tricky couple of years for many, with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating mental health issues across the entire country.
We’ve all suffered, but men in particular have struggled to manage an increase in living costs, the pressures of work and looking after their family, all whilst dealing with the ever-changing landscape we have seen across the entire globe, from both an economic and health perspective.
So, to lend our male friends – and especially fathers – some much-needed support, the world will stand with them during International Fathers’ Mental Health Day 2022.
What is International Fathers’ Mental Health Day?
It’s a day made to support fathers who may be struggling with mental health issues. The idea grew from research which discovered that men weren’t getting the same levels of support as their female counterparts, and that 10% of males experience depression or poor mental health stability during the first few months of the birth of a baby.
Partly due to the stigma around mental health, there is still a perception amongst men that mental health issues are a sign of weakness, and that they are expected to show strength and resilience, even when pressures are mounting. Platforms such as Fathers’ Mental Health Day help men to feel more comfortable with confronting their problems and seeking the support they need within a safe, non-judgemental environment.
Let’s Discuss Postpartum Depression
As we’ve just mentioned, many fathers struggle to cope during the period after the birth of a child. It is well known that mothers can suffer with post-partum depression, but men are often overlooked. If left untreated, this can lead to conditions such as generalised anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic disorder.
Further Father Struggles
The whole idea of a man being a role model who never gets fazed by anything, is a problem in itself. There’s a perception that, when a family is facing problems, it’s the father who needs to keep his emotions in check to create a sense of stability. This will take its toll; having to put on a false act every day can be mentally draining.
Keeping Life in Balance
Everyday life can be pretty intense, with not a second to spare as we juggle holding down a job and managing our home lives. If multiple issues are presenting at once, this can become overwhelming and place immense pressure on the mind.
For many fathers, the very idea of even acknowledging that they’re suffering is a difficult undertaking. Many believe this feeling will simply pass, and if they were to seek help, this would make them look weak. However, it is never advisable to ride out mental health problems and it is important to seek professional help as early as possible to help generate positivity and guide you towards a more peaceful state of mind.
Common Health Problems For Fathers
Below are just some of the most common mental health problems we can all suffer with, but which can particularly affect new fathers.
It’s a vague term, but nevertheless an important one. Depression is the culmination of various issues bringing about severely low moods. Feeling down and sad is a very common emotion; however, depression amplifies these feelings, and can bring an overriding sense of worthlessness and a complete lack of interest in everyday life. This can be especially problematic for fathers who want to bond with their children, but are not able to muster the inner strength to display any sort of positivity.
Sometimes we overthink things, sometimes to the point where we can start to conjure up frightening images and thoughts that get out of control. If you experience paranoia, you’re likely to become incredibly anxious and may even start to display aggressive behaviour around loved ones. That’s why creating supportive networks for fathers is so important.
A common symptom of a mental health condition is loss of appetite, and this will of course, lead to reduced energy levels. Anorexia and bulimia are two of the most common eating disorders. Without regularly consuming important nutrients, you are harming your body, and this can lead to a weaker immune system.
Crunching The Numbers
Below are just some of the alarming facts and figures relating to male mental health, courtesy of the Mental Health Foundation.
- The highest rates of male suicide in the UK are among people aged between 40-49.
- Men typically claim lower life satisfaction in comparison to women.
- Only 36% of NHS talking therapies are for men.
How We Can Help
Our team of specialist doctors at Psychiatry-UK offers comprehensive support for a wide range of mental health conditions. We have perinatal specialists who can support mothers through postnatal depression, and who offer an exclusive service to fathers who are experiencing low mood or attachment problems. Patient confidentiality is, of course, maintained throughout our processes.