Paternal Mental Health

Nothing hits as hard as life 

 “It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keeping move forward”. Rocky Balboa

I found myself flat on the canvass with cartoon birds flouting above me!!..I had two choices stay there and be counted out or get up and fight with all the strength I could muster.. I lay there for a lot longer than I should as staying there seemed far easier and less painful. 
I had experienced depression since a discharge from the army on medical grounds and struggled to find my place as a civilian.. What I thought I had been through to this point mentally was nothing like what was to come. The affect this birth had on my mental health took me by surprise as I didn't realise dads can be affected too.  

Seeing my wife become critically ill after a routine c section, was too much.

This was our seventh child and there had been multiple complications along the way that created a domino effect that lead to me mentally breaking. On what should have been the happiest time of my life, coming home with my wife and last son, the feelings of ecstasy and euphoria were replaced with numbness and sadness. I felt anger at the smallest of things and I became less tolerant. I could no longer sleep properly and felt tired all the time but my mind would not switch off. It tortured me with intrusive thoughts and how they would all be better off without me and self loathing and deep sadness.
That was two years ago and I have regular days where the dark clouds loom over head but where I used to wait for them I now try to enjoy the sunshine while it’s here, the dark clouds will come regardless!!.... 
I decided I would turn my pain into a positive and try to help and support other dads suffering Mental Health issues, attributed to birth and the perinatal period. I also wanted  to offer advice and guidance antenatally to prepare parents for what might happen rather than treating what has!!.. 

I now co manage a closed support group for dads for PANDAS on Facebook and currently helping to raise awareness of Paternal Mental Health through my PMH Support social media platforms.

57% of men with mental health problems are parents (Mental Health Foundation)

Dads are 47 times more likely to commit suicide in the perinatal period that at any other point (Fathers Reaching Out, Mark Williams, September 2020)

Considering suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50, in the UK, not enough light is shone on it. These are recorded figures and I feel they are far higher it’s just not talked about enough. 

My aim is to normalise mental health, and Post Natal Depression in particular, by speaking about my experiences and helping improve services for parents. It’s not just for now, it’s an investment in the mental health of our children as they become the next generation of parents.

they need their future to be better than my past...