While considerable media and popular attention is devoted to maternal mental health issues, there has been less focus on the experiences of dads.
International Fathers’ Mental Health Day (IFMHD) is an annual global event first launched in 2016 which gives voice to issues unique to men as they transition to fatherhood—their strengths, difficulties, and needs.
Although most of us—men and women alike—are socialized to think of men as providers of support during the perinatal period and early parenthood, a wealth of research shows that 10% of new dads experience paternal postpartum depression (50% when mom is depressed!) and tend to need support of their own. However, the stigma against experiencing difficulties in early parenthood is even higher for men than for women. Society views men as stoic, self-sacrificing, and above all, strong. When men feel none of those things as new fathers, they don’t want to admit it or seek help.
For this reason, Postpartum Support International is an enthusiastic supporter of IFMHD as a means to take a whole-family, father-inclusive approach by shedding light on the best practices and related resources for dads, their partners, and those who support them.
Founded by paternal postpartum depression survivor Mark Williams and fatherhood mental health expert and PSI board member Dr. Daniel Singley, IFMHD involves taking the day after Father’s Day—June 19th, 2017 this year—to launch a focused social media campaign which highlights key aspects of fathers’ mental health.
Interview with Dr. David Levine, PSI Dads volunteer and survivor of paternal postpartum depression. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_sydwE_cIg