Dad's Mental Health Can Affect the Entire Family

By: Anonymous Author - Children's Lifetime


Being a dad is one of the most rewarding and important roles you can have in life. Right from the beginning, fathers play a big role in their children’s health and development. Studies show that father involvement during the perinatal period and the first three years of life leads to children who are more ready for school, have an advanced vocabulary and enhanced social skills, and are better able to regulate their emotions.


Father involvement also positively impacts fathers and mothers: it increases both parents’ confidence, results in both being more responsive to the baby, and it decreases mothers and fathers’ potential for mental health issues.


With today’s advances in medicine, it’s tragic how uninformed and unwilling parents are about maintaining a healthy body and particularly a healthy mind. Men are far less likely to seek help, particularly help with mental health. Exhibiting symptoms of a disorder often does not trigger a sense of urgency to seek medical attention.


Refusing Help


There are many reasons you may be reluctant to seek help for mental illness.


I’m not weak,

I don’t need it,

I can get better on my own,

I don’t want anyone to think I’m crazy,

I don’t want to spend the money,

I don’t have time,

I can’t leave my family


Acknowledging the reality of your illness and its impact on your life can be frightening, and can elicit emotions you’d rather not deal with. Even if you do realize the extent of your own suffering, the prospect of unraveling it can seem overwhelming and exhausting, and you may tell yourself that you can handle it alone. When you have children, however, your mental illness is never yours alone. The effects of mental illness on children can be deep-reaching and destructive.


Getting Help for Mental Health


If you believe your experiencing mental health concerns or disorders, you can get many different types of help and support.


The best place to start is with your Primary Care Physician. Your PCP can refer you to a range of specialist support services like psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors, rehabilitation services or community health services.


Resources


Very Well Mind

Mayco Clinic

National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)

Find a Psychiatrist


Parents are not only investing in their sound mental health, they are investing in themselves to build a strong foundation to successfully juggle being a father, maintain employment as well as financial and household responsibilities. It can easily become overwhelming. This foundation is built on "Core Capability Life Skills


According to the extensive research and studies by Harvard University, Center on the Developing Child, science tells us adults need certain capabilities to succeed in life and support the development of the next generation, our children.


Mental health challenges will undermine your ability to accomplish this. Psychologically, men face some of the toughest developmental challenges when they become a father. They may also face challenges and changes in the relationship with their partner.


As soon as a new baby enters the world, the need to listen, think critically, and make difficult parenting decisions take center stage. At the same time, intimate relations with your partner are not a priority. Health experts believe many men who relied on their partners for emotional support and intimacy can be left feeling guilty, resentful, and confused as they try to figure out how to support their partners while sacrificing their own support and need for intimacy.


Society views men as stoic, self-sacrificing, and most importantly, strong. When men feel none of those things as new fathers, they don’t want to admit it or seek help. Experts in paternal mental health say fathers are struggling and suffering with metal health difficulties at about the same rate as mothers. The majority of these mental health difficulties go