Should I Get Help?
If you’re like most men, you’ve been taught to hide pain. But hiding depression only makes it worse and can lead to other serious problems.
And there’s really no need to hide PPND (Paternal Postnatal Depression). Depression, anxiety and other mood disorders are common. In fact, they’re just as common – and just as real – as physical problems, like heart disease or a broken ankle. They can also be as crippling.
PPND is a very serious condition. But it’s also a very treatable condition. Left untreated, however, PPND can result in damaging, long-term consequences for you, your kids, your marriage, your career, and your finances.
If you’re reluctant to get help for yourself, consider doing it for the well-being of your child and family. Not only can PPND hurt your relationship with your partner, we know that it undermines your child’s development. Research shows that a father’s PPND has a negative impact on the emotional and behavioral development of his child years later. So, the best thing you can do to provide for your child’s future is to get help for yourself today.
Getting help is a sign of strength
For many men, one of the biggest obstacles to seeing a mental health professional is the concern is that if others – like coworkers – found out, something bad will happen or they’ll lose respect. Don’t let these fears impact your child’s well-being – or your relationship with your partner. Muster the courage to ask for the help you need, so you can be the father and husband you want to be. Remember, PPND is not a
weakness of character. It’s a mental condition that’s treatable.
Where Can I Get Help?
Once you’ve decided to get help, the first thing to keep in mind is that research shows mental health clinicians are less likely to correctly diagnose depression in men than in women. What that means is that, if it’s possible, it’s important to find a clinician who is skilled at working with men. Unfortunately, that’s not always easy.
Below are some suggestions of people or organizations to contact for a referral to a licensed mental health professional in your area. First ask them whether they can refer you to someone who specializes in treating men and depression.
The next thing, once you’ve actually met with someone, is to make sure you think this is someone you can work with – even if that person is a specialist in working with men. The most important thing is that you find a psychotherapist you’re comfortable working with – that will play a key role in your recovery.
If you’re interested in medication, you will also need to locate a physician or psychiatrist – who are the only ones authorized to provide a prescription. (A psychotherapist can usually refer you to a psychiatrist.)
Here are some suggestions of places you can get referrals to mental health professionals:
- Men’s groups or fathers’ groups in your area
- General practitioner or family doctor
- Your child’s doctor
- Family services agency in your area
- Local mental health agency
- Local hospital’s social services department or department of psychiatry
- Friends, neighbors, or someone you trust
- Church or synagogue
Keep in mind, you are the consumer. If you have concerns about the treatment you’re getting or the medications you’re taking, ask questions. And be sure you’re satisfied with the answers. If not, consider getting a second opinion. You’re the only one who can advocate for you.
Help in the form of support is available from the PostpartumMen Online Forum. Getting support is a critical tool in helping you to recover from PPND. You can also post a message there asking other dads for referrals to a licensed mental health professional in your area.
Help For Your Partner
If you’re experiencing PPND, it increases the likelihood that your partner is also depressed. It’s important that she get help for herself as well. Your partner can take a look at the PostpartumMen Resources page, which includes resources specifically for women.