Being a new parent is amazing. Everyone around you is excited about the new baby, and your little one will need your love and support. But don’t forget that parents need support as well. It’s normal for new parents to feel overwhelmed from lack of sleep, parenting other children, or the new role of raising a human being. For some parents, they may develop a change in mood, have severe feelings of anxiety or unhappiness or these symptoms are lasting longer than 2 weeks. If a parent is feeling this way, they may be experiencing postpartum depression.According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), postpartum depression is defined as depression that occurs after a baby is born. Many have heard about postpartum depression affecting mothers but postpartum depression can also affect dads and is referred to as paternal postpartum depression (PPD). PPD can affect from 2% to 25% of dads. According to HealthyChildren.org
, risk factors for PPD include “maternal depression, lack of social support or help from family and friends, and difficulty developing an attachment with the baby.”Dads may experience a range of symptoms that may include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, overwhelmed, anger, irritability, or loss of interest in work or favorite activities.Whether mom or dad are experiencing postpartum depression, there is help. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends screening mothers for depression and many providers are also screening fathers. According to the HealthyChildren.org
article about PPD,“Early identification of depressed fathers helps in accessing support and treatment so that they can remain present and positively involved with their family.”Depression is treatable. If you are feeling depressed, please tell a loved one, contact your healthcare provider or you can call the free 24/7 365 days SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357). The hotline provides treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. If you think you may harm yourself or child, please seek immediate help by calling 911 or the 24/7 National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255.