As I write this article, The World Health Organisation doesn’t recommend screening of new fathers mental health only mothers when a recent report says ” That men in mid-life are most at risk in terms of age, and that those from the lowest social class and living in the most deprived areas are up to 10 times more likely to die by suicide than others in the highest social class from the most affluent areas.
Only last week we welcomed the news that new and expectant fathers will be offered mental health checks and treatment under radical action to support families, National Health Trust England chief executive Simon Stevens announced recently.
In the landmark move, the partners of pregnant women and new mothers who are themselves suffering from anxiety, depression or more severe disorders such as psychosis will be automatically offered a comprehensive mental health assessment and sign-posted to professional support if needed.
In my experience of working with dads i have mostly found they are the only ones struggling and the mother is actually asking me to help him due to her own mental health having an impact which is effecting their relationship.
As we know at least 1 in 10 dads suffer postnatal depression and anxiety is new dads is far higher with up to 50% of dads having depression looking after a loved one with postnatal depression which is why I welcomed the news. We know we have a longer journey ahead as my work will never be done until The World Health Organisation who has a responsibility to change this as soon as possible as I personally feel so many dads are going into other services years later after not being screened like mums who I came across in secure units while working as an Independent Mental Health Advocate.
It was only a few months ago we found out thanks to his wonderful ex-wife who wanted to raise awareness of John Clayton who also suffered postnatal depression after his son was born in 2013 and killed himself, aged 41, three years later.
So if you know anyone at The World Health Organisation please get them to get in touch to change this to screening all parents for their mental health, after all we all have mental health don’t we but sometimes it isn’t
good after or before the birth of our children.