Being a father can be a landmark achievement that brings with it excitement and challenges. In the postpartum period, it is easy to focus on mothers but, fathers may also need support, they also have a lot to come to terms with and deal with. The support they might need can be in relation to sleep deprivation, financial worries, a change in responsibilities or changes in relationship dynamics. For both parents the arrival of a new baby brings with it enormous life changes and adjustments. Fathers may experience feelings of guilt knowing what their partner is going through, knowing that it is not him who is breastfeeding at 4am or recovering from labour and birth.
There is a dearth of longitudinal research on paternal depression. There are several reasons for this and one of them is the difficulty of recruiting fathers to longitudinal studies. Little is known about the needs and the mental health experiences that new fathers face and the methods used for detecting depression in fathers after the birth of their child are limited.
According to Psouni et al1 the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), that is used to screen mothers for postpartum depression, is lacking when used for screening in men. This shortfall will potentially decrease the tool’s reliability and sensitivity in detecting depression in fathers, as many men actually express symptoms of depression.