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Dangers of male post-natal blues

Friday December 28th, 2018

Post-natal depression is a serious problem for fathers as well as mothers - and may have long-term implications for families, according to a new UK study.

Researchers at Cambridge University found a “small but significant” link between male post-natal depression and subsequent depression experienced by teenage daughters by the age of 18.

The findings, reported in JAMA Psychiatry, come from a study of 3,000 families in Bristol, UK.

The researchers concluded that nearly 5% of fathers suffered from an onset of depression after the birth of a child.

Researcher Professor Paul Ramchandani said: "Research from this study of families in Bristol has already shown that fathers can experience depression in the postnatal period as well as mothers. What is new in this paper is that we were able to follow up the young people from birth through to the age of 18, when they were interviewed about their own experience of depression.

"We were also able to look at some of the ways in which depression in fathers might have affected children. It appears that depression in fathers is linked with an increased level of stress in the whole family, and that this might be one way in which offspring may be affected.

"Whilst many children will not be affected by parental depression in this way, the findings of this study highlight the importance of providing appropriate help to fathers, as well as mothers, who may experience depression."

Mark Williams, of the campaign group, Fathers Reaching Out, added: "Fathers' Postnatal Depression impacts on the whole family when unsupported, often resulting in fathers using negative coping skills, avoiding situations and often feeling anger.

"In my experience of working with families, it's sometimes only the father who is suffering in silence but sadly very few are asked about their mental health after becoming a parent."

Association of Maternal and Paternal Depression in the Postnatal Period with Offspring Depression at Age 18 Years. JAMA Psychiatry 26 December 2018

Tags: Child Health | Men's Health | Mental Health | UK News

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