As many as one in nine Irish fathers suffer with paternal postnatal depression, the results of a new study suggest.
Postnatal depression is generally associated with women during the first year after their baby is born. Symptoms can include low moods, feelings of sadness and loneliness, frequent crying for no apparent reason, anxiety, feeling unable to cope and lacking energy.
According to a new study carried out by researchers at University College Cork (UCC), 12% of Irish men show symptoms of paternal postnatal depression.
The study involved 100 fathers, all with a child who was less than 12 months old.
It found that factors which increased the risk of postnatal depression among fathers included a history of depression, having a baby with sleep problems, a lack of support from their partner, a lower level of education and having a premature or overdue baby.
Living in rented accommodation, being unmarried and having poor finances also increased the risk, as did not having any paternity leave.
According to Lloyd Philpott and Dr Paul Corcoran, who carried out the study, paternal postnatal depression is a significant public health issue, but one that is currently underscreened, underdiagnosed and undertreated.
Details of these findings were presented at the 34th Annual International Nursing and Midwifery Research and Education Conference at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) in Dublin.
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