Postnatal depression: Call for new fathers to be screened

Postnatal depression: Call for new fathers to be screened
From BBC - October 24, 2017

All new fathers should be screened for signs of postnatal depression, a mental health campaigner has said.

Mark Williams, of Bridgend-based charity Fathers Reaching Out, wants greater recognition of the effects of difficult or traumatic births on men.

He called for fathers to have the same mental health checks as mothers.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said there were no plans to change its guidelines on the issue.

Currently, all new mothers' well-being is gauged using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, a questionnaire which asks women to assess their mental state.

Mr Williams, who set up the Fathers Reaching Out support group after suffering with postnatal depression, has been invited to address MPs in the House of Commons next month.

He will tell politicians he wants the mental health of new fathers to be evaluated by health visitors and doctors in the same way as new mothers.

Mr Williams, 41, and his wife, Michelle, 39, both suffered from postnatal depression after the birth of their son, Ethan, by Caesarean section after a 24-labour in 2004.

He said that when he had to look after her and the baby, with his wife often unable to get out of bed, it caused him "anxiety" and left him unable to talk about his feelings.

"It put a strain on our relationship but I could not talk to my friends about it. They did not know what was going on and I changed," he said.

"I was moody and I am usually a happy chap, and I was drinking more to try to block it out.

"There was pressure everywhere. I felt a lot of frustration. I remember I was in a car park one day and I just broke down crying."

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