Supporting Super-Dads by Recognizing Father's Mental Health
When was the last time you thought about your father's mental health or if you are a father, when was the last time you took a peak into your inner world? Fathers, like mothers, can experience mental health problems in their journeys into and through parenthood. These can include various mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Many factors can contribute to this, such as lifestyle changes, sleep deprivation, and money worries. While there is increasing recognition towards father's mental health, it doesn't seem to be enough. Yet, it is not too late to start the conversation around our dear father's mental health.
Fathers’ Mental Health: Are We Missing Out on Understanding Their Challenges?
1 in 10 fathers experience symptoms of postpartum depression. This is not the only mental health concern they experience, yet they somehow get missed while assessing the overall picture.
The range of emotions mothers and children go, and the thoughts they experience are also characteristic of father's mental health. However, fathers are expected to be stoic about their mental health concerns. They are often asked to put their inner experiences on the side for the sake of their family's.
The image of them being strong is rarely challenged. From a very early age, they are taught not to cry, and yet their mental health affects everyone in the family. While work-life balance is difficult for everyone, it is generally expected that it's the father's duty to take care of the family, irrespective of his own condition. Fathers are taught to be unstoppable, often compromising on their emotional health.
What Are Some Ways to Promote Father’s Mental Health?
There can be a massive impact of father's mental health on their family's life. While the societal expectations can't change overnight, we can always start conversations. Your father may need an extra dose of encouragement to speak about his concerns.
Mental health awareness can happen at various levels, whether it's in an office or with family. When this awareness builds, you can help normalize not only talking about mental health, but also working towards it. Perhaps, the most important information to provide, is that seeking help and support for mental health is not a sign of weakness, but rather of strength.
However, it is also important to be realistic while working on their mental health. For the longest time, they have put up walls to protect themselves and their family. A simple conversation can't do wonders, but it is indeed a starting point.
When fathers receive resources, they will be encouraged to make time to go through them. Bring out research on mental health, make simple reflections on their health, and continue the conversation as much as you can.
To all the dads processing their own emotions, identity, and duties as they enter parentshood, we see you. It is time to normalize talking and asking about father's mental health. While we may still be concerned about their physical and financial health, lets try to go a bit deeper.
Mental health exists at the individual and the family level. Sometimes, we have to cross the bridge and reach out to our fathers to aid them in their healing journey.
Janvi Kapur is a counselor with a master's degree in applied psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology.
What do you think of this story? Tell us in the comments section below.