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Fathers' perinatal mental health

02 February 2020
Volume 28 · Issue 2
 Perinatal mental health services available to men still lags significantly behind those offered to women
Perinatal mental health services available to men still lags significantly behind those offered to women


Fathers' mental health pre- and post-pregnancy has received little attention in comparison to mothers. Dr Jane Hanley and Mark Williams have a closer look at the issue

Around 10 years ago, there was little discussion around the incidence of postnatal depression. Statistics by Cox et al (1987) demonstrated that at least 1 in 10 mothers suffered from it and this was later increased to 1 in 7 by Wisner et al (2013).

Several scientific and social mitigating factors converged to alert the public that the occurrence of anxiety and depression during pregnancy needed to be carefully considered because of the significant circumstances which might impact on the mother and infant. What followed was greater focus and concentration on the mother's mental health.

Although it may be argued there is not always equity within the perinatal mental health services across the UK, there has been a substantial improvement in the access for mothers. This, however, is not the case for fathers. There has been a growth of interest in fathers' mental health but this does not appear to have the same momentum as that for mothers. The statistics for fathers experiencing depression is around 1 in 10.

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