More than one in three new fathers have serious concerns about mental health, a new study suggests.
Research conducted by the parenting charity NCT found that increased pressure, financial obligations, lack of sleep and an increased workload may all have a negative impact on a first-time father’s mental health.
Additionally, the study found that 73 per cent of new fathers are worried about their partner’s mental health.
According to NCT psychologist Dr Abigail Easter, awareness of these struggles is rather low. This is probably because depression for a new parent “is typically associated with mothers and often fathers are forgotten during this important time”, she explained.
Dr Sarah McMullen is the charity’s head of research. She said that having a child can have “a huge impact … on dads as well as mums”.
“[R]aising awareness of the specific concerns and questions that dads-to-be or new dads have is crucial”, she added. However, she said that one potential problem with getting help for first time fathers is that they can sometimes “feel uncomfortable about opening up about their feelings”.
Dr McMullen encouraged new, first time fathers to seek support if they are struggling. This can come from family, friends or professionals such as doctors or counsellors.
Other measures NCT recommended for new dads included taking time for themselves whenever possible as “even an hour here or there can make a difference” and exercise.
The charity gathered data from interviews with 1,165 first time parents and published the results in time for Father’s Day.