New Fathers Experience Mental Health Problems

Research by the NCT, coinciding with Father’s Day, has revealed that over a third of new fathers are worried about their mental health: http://www.nct.org.uk/press-release/dads-distress-many-new-fathers-are-worried-about-their-mental-health

One of the main reasons behind these findings is men’s unwillingness to talk about their feelings. This unwillingness is understandable – many men have been taught, from a very young age, that there is something “unmanly” about sharing feelings, or even having them in the first place.

A strategy of “keeping calm and carrying on” may sometimes serve men well. But when “manning up” just doesn’t seem to be working – for instance, during the period immediately before, and after the birth of a child – more men need to follow another well known piece of advice:

“It’s good to talk”.

(Wasn’t it well-known Cockney geezer, Bob Hoskins, who said that?)

 

Talking Can Save Your Life

Around one hundred men kill themselves in the UK each week. Men are four times more likely to kill themselves than women. More middle aged men kill themselves than any other group.

 

Why do so many men commit suicide? Or, to put it another way: why comparatively so few women?

 

The answer, according to Panorama (BBC 1, 13/4/15) is that men are conditioned not to talk about their feelings. Changing this – talking, crying, letting it all out – can indeed save lives. Women, it seems, have always been better able to do this. Counsellors and psychotherapists have their roles here but so too do family and friends. Talking is not “weak” or “unmanly”. And not talking can be deadly.

 

Watch Panorama: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/search?q=panorama. A brief but well-constructed examination of this topic.