The Conversation

Editor's note

England’s National Health Service (NHS) this week announced it will offer mental health screening and treatment for new and expectant fathers whose partners are suffering from mental illness.

In Australia, screening mothers for mental illness before and after birth is standard, but fathers are not routinely assessed at any point. This is despite increasing evidence men experience postnatal mental health and adjustment issues. Having a depressed or irritable father also leads to many problems for the child, including being associated with developmental issues in later life. And most women say their partner is their main support, so helping fathers will help the mother too.

Richard Fletcher, Jacqui Macdonald and Louise Newman write Australia should make screening of new and expectant fathers part of its mental health strategy.

Sasha Petrova

Deputy Editor, Health + Medicine

Men also experience postnatal mental health and adjustment issues. from

Men get postnatal depression too, and as the mother’s main support, they need help

Richard Fletcher, University of Newcastle; Jacqui Macdonald, Deakin University; Louise Newman, University of Melbourne

Having a stressed and depressed father can have serious implications for infants and relationships. And supporting a father who may be experiencing mental ill health means supporting the mother too.

Postnatal depression affects between 8-11% of new fathers. Halfpoint/Shutterstock

I had postnatal depression as a new father and know why mental health checks for dads should be expanded

Viren Swami, Anglia Ruskin University

NHS plans to screen at risk fathers for postnatal depression.

From the archives: dads' mental health

Children whose father experiences mental illness are more likely to experience emotional or behavioural problems.

Children’s well-being goes hand in hand with their dads’ mental health

Catherine Wade, University of Sydney; Julie Green, University of Melbourne

New research has found one in five dads has experienced symptoms of depression and/or anxiety after having children.

Some fathers with mental illness feel discriminated against for their – perceived or actual – inability to meet the traditional paternal responsibilities of provider, protector and role-model. momento mori/Flickr

Fathers with mental illness deserve better than stigma

Rhys Price-Robertson, Monash University; Andrea Reupert, Monash University

Where there is mental illness, there’s almost invariably social disapproval and discrimination. And a report released by the Australian Institute of Family Studies today shows fathers with mental illness…

Most parents we interviewed described having “unrealistic” expectations about baby behaviour. Robyn Lee/Flickr

‘I didn’t know who I was anymore’ – myths vs realities of early parenthood

Kate Johnston-Ataata, Monash University; Renata Kokanovic, Monash University

Becoming a parent is commonly imagined to be a joyful and “natural” life event. The reality is often very different. In the early weeks and months of life with a first baby, parents must master new skills…

Expert answers to serious, weird and wacky questions

Curious Kids: What existed before the Big Bang? Did something have to be there to go boom?

Jake Clark, University of Southern Queensland; Belinda Nicholson, University of Southern Queensland; Josh Calcino, The University of Queensland

Long ago in the distant past, our entire Universe was microscopic – just like an atom – and obeyed completely different rules of cause and effect.

Curious Kids: what would happen if the Earth’s core went cold?

Paula Koelemeijer, UCL

The Earth's core is cooling down, and one day it will be completely solid – when that happens, Earth might look a lot like Mars.

Health Check: I’m taking antibiotics – when will they start working?

Christine Carson, University of Western Australia; Tim Inglis, University of Western Australia

It's hard to predict how long it will take to feel better after you start taking antibiotics. But if you start feeling worse one to two days after starting the therapy, you must see your doctor.

I’m having surgery in a public hospital. Will a junior doctor operate on me?

Seth Delpachitra, University of Melbourne; Anton Sklavos, University of Melbourne

The person in charge of your surgery is a consultant surgeon. A consultant is the most qualified doctor in a hospital.

We all buy slave-made products: here’s how we avoid feeling guilty

Michal Carrington, University of Melbourne; Andreas Chatzidakis, Royal Holloway; Deirdre Shaw, University of Glasgow

Hidden slavery is a growing global problem but we continue to turn a blind eye and embrace a seemingly insatiable demand for fast, cheap goods and services.

Explainer: what is nitrous oxide (or nangs) and how dangerous is it?

Stephen Bright, Edith Cowan University; Nicole Lee, Curtin University

Media-driven panic about drugs can create a perception more people are using the drug than they actually are, and when teens think 'everyone' is doing it, they are more likely to want to do it too.

Explainer: what does ‘gaslighting’ mean?

Jessamy Gleeson, RMIT University

The term 'gaslighting' is now liberally used but what does it mean and where did it come from?

Nervous tummy: why you might get the runs before a first date

Vincent Ho, Western Sydney University

When we get nervous, a number of processes occur in the brain that are passed onto the stomach and affect the digestive process. This is a hangover from our hunter-gatherer days.

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