Fatherhood and Mental Health

Medically reviewed by: Emily Mendez, MS, EdS
Saturday, June 20 2020

Most new fathers don’t realize that fatherhood can greatly impact mental health due to factors like stress, lack of sleep, lack of support, and feeling that it’s not acceptable to ask for help.

What do we know about fatherhood and mental health? Unfortunately, not enough. The topic of men's mental health and well-being during the transition into the father role is wildly lacking research. This may be a reality that you're facing when trying to explore resources for paternal mental health. However, the good news is that emerging research is helping more men and their partners understand the unique pressures of fatherhood. 

We're discovering that the transition into fatherhood may not be as smooth as we've always assumed. One recent survey found that 70% of fathers say that their stress levels increased in the 12 months after becoming a father. What's more, 24% say that their stress levels increased significantly. That may be an affirming statistic to read if you're searching for data and support regarding the impact of fatherhood on mental health because you're currently struggling. 

There's a lot more that we know about this topic. Let's explore some ideas regarding how and why fatherhood can impact mental health and well-being in specific ways.

The Big Transition We're Not Talking About Enough

It seems like maternal mental health is finally getting the attention it deserves thanks to greater public awareness, better education among care providers, and successful public-health efforts. For instance, a topic like postpartum depression among mothers was barely discussed 15 years ago. It is now a phrase that most people are familiar with. Unfortunately, it seems that we haven't entirely caught up in addressing paternal mental health.

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