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 to launch a focused social media campaign which highlights key aspects of fathers’ mental health.
Dr Andy Mayers from Bournemouth University leads the UK, Dr Bronwyn Leigh in Australia while Dr David Levine, New York are among the team for International Fathers Mental Health Day.