Antenatal mental health for dads

If you are an expecting dad and you don’t feel the way you expected to then it’s important to talk to someone. You might simply be having a little trouble adjusting to the changes that come with pregnancy. Talking to a loved one or a trusted health professional can help.

If your feelings are worrying you or stopping you from functioning normally for more than two weeks, you may be experiencing antenatal anxiety or depression. This is nothing to be ashamed of. It is fine to talk about it. In fact, it is better that you do! The sooner you seek support, the sooner you can begin treatment and start feeling better.

Treating antenatal anxiety and depression

We know that everyone experiences antenatal anxiety and depression differently. The way it can affect you depends on a range of factors, from your own physical, emotional and mental make up to external factors that might be having an impact.

There are also different degrees of the illness. Some people experience milder symptoms of antenatal anxiety or depression, while others have more severe symptoms. The common factor is that the illness is affecting your ability to enjoy your pregnancy and potentially impacting your ability to function at all.

This means there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. Everyone responds to treatment differently. One treatment for antenatal anxiety or depression might work for one person, but not the next. You are unique, and so is your treatment. It’s important to remember that antetnatal anxiety and depression is temporary and treatable.

My advice to anyone in this position, is to seek help, don’t suffer alone.

Seeking advice

It is really important for a new or expecting dad to seek support and treatment for how he is feeling as early as possible to help get better as soon as possible. Seeking support might include:

  • Talking about how you are feeling with someone you trust, so they can provide you with support. This might be a friend or a family member. Once you start talking you might be surprised at how many people have had similar experiences.
  • Talking to a doctor can be an important step to getting help.
  • Therapy or counselling might be recommended to help you. Seeing a therapist or psychiatrist is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign that you are taking the steps necessary to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy.
  • If you are having suicidal thoughts or are feeling disoriented it’s important to get help immediately.  You can talk to your doctor, call the PANDA Helpline 1300 726 306 (Mon to Fri, 9am - 7.30pm AEST)  or Lifeline 13 11 14 (24/7)

If you are in any doubt, call the PANDA National Helpline. Our telephone counsellors will listen carefully to your concerns and help you towards the most appropriate steps to take from there.