Dads’ Mental Health Affects Their Children

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We’ve written about this before: treating depression can be a family affair. Recent studies are focusing on why a father’s mental health is just as important on their children.

This 2017 study out of the United Kingdom drew a strong correlation between depression in fathers and their teenagers, while acknowledging that that past research hadn’t taken a fathers’ mental health into consideration.

“Our results…suggest that the mental health of both fathers and mothers is important for the mental health of their children,” the study reads. “Interventions to improve adolescent mental health should therefore target both parents, irrespective of their sex.”

Dr. Gemma Lewis, the study’s lead author, encourages men with depression to seek treatment for the sake of their children.

“If you’re a father who hasn’t sought treatment for your depression, it could have an impact on your child,” Lewis said in a news article.  “We hope that our findings could encourage men who experience depressive symptoms to speak to their doctor about it.”

But how can dads know if they have depression? Here are a list of common symptoms of depression:

  • Persistent “low” mood for more than two weeks
  • Lack of interest or pleasure in activities you usually enjoy
  • Food doesn’t taste as good
  • Unable to fall asleep, waking up multiple times a night and being unable to fall back asleep, or sleeping more than usual
  • Feeling exhausted or lacking the energy to get up and move around
  • Lack of concentration: you may not be able to read easily, follow the plot of a movie
  • Focusing on past mistakes
  • Feeling worthless
  • Desire to hurt yourself physically
  • Desire to take your own life

If you are a father experiencing these symptoms, please contact me. I want to see you get the help you need.

Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. If you would like to discuss the information in this blog further with her, please call 208-918-0958. She sees adolescents and adults. Information in this blog is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider about decisions regarding your health.

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