According to a study in Denmark, some 7% of men appear to experience post-natal depression.
The study involved 600 men recruited through antenatal classes and midwife consultations at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen. It used two generally accepted measures of depression - the ’Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale’ (EPDS), traditionally used to screen for postnatal depression, and the ’Gotland Male Depression Scale’, normally used to assess so-called masculine states of depression.
The researchers extrapolate their figures to suggest that some 4,000-4,500 fathers experience post-natal depression in Denmark every year.
The research project, "Men and Parenting – an Active Fatherhood" was an EU project under the Community Framework Strategy on Gender Equality 2001-2005 promoted by the Danish Ministry of Gender Equality in partnership with Copenhagen University Hospital, the Slovenian Office for Equal Opportunities, the, Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR), and Belgian Institute for the Equality of Women and Men.
Researcher Svend Aage Madsen said: ‘For the first time in Denmark we measured the prevalence of mood disorders and post partum depressions in fathers and for the first time in the world “male depression” symptoms were included in such a measurement. We hope through the work improve the help for men as fathers - and for the families and the infants.
‘The next step is to inform and educate professionals in health services to identify fathers with mood disorders and to educate therapists to treat fathers with such disturbancies.’
As part of this porocess, the researchers will produce a booklet on the subject which will be distributed to all GPs in Denmark during Men’s health Week and to home nurses and midwifes.