It is easy to forget that many men with mental illness are fathers, too.

Desperate house husbands? Pic: Channel Nine

Social worker John Clark only came to recognise the effect depression was having on his parenting 12 months into his illness.

“I avoided the kids by getting up after they’d left, and getting home late at night. I tried to stay in bed on weekends. They were too much for me; too many words, too boisterous, too active, too demanding,” he said recently

Clark is not alone. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, nearly one in five men will experience a mental health problem in the next year. Like Clark, many of these men will have children.

Why then do we rarely hear of the effect that mental illness has on fatherhood? Or that fatherhood has on mental health?

It is common in our society to make a connection between motherhood and mental health. This is partly due to increased awareness and understanding of antenatal and postnatal depression. There is no doubt that for some women the hormonal rollercoaster of pregnancy and childbirth dips into clinical territory.

But hormones offer only part of an explanation. We feel comfortable mentioning motherhood and mental illness in the same breath because we are used to thinking of women’s identity as relational in nature. We take it for granted that a women’s sense of self will be entwined with the lives of her children and family.

But what about fathers?

In recent years there has been much talk of the “new father”. He gets up in the night. He nurtures. He wants to split household tasks 50/50. He helps us feel good about how far we have come since the bad old days of the emotionally absent breadwinner. But scratch the surface and our support for him starts looking limited indeed.

Just as there are many who criticise the career-driven mother, so too there are those who deride the father whose sense of identity is closely tied to his family. Take a look at popular culture’s snide depictions of stay-at-home dads. The subtext is clear: a real man builds his identity with the bricks and mortar of status and independence.

Or bring to mind the men our society valorizes - the sportsmen, the business leaders, the celebrities. Almost to the last, they embody independence, success and worldliness. Seldom do we celebrate men for their emotional intelligence or for sacrifices they make.   

It is no wonder, then, that despite the “new father” rhetoric, many still think of a man with a mental illness as an island unto himself - an individual, rather than part of a family system. It is no wonder we often struggle to make the connection between a man’s mental health and the wellbeing of his children.

Here is a fact: it is very difficult to find a counseling service or support group in Australia that specifically focuses on father’s mental health (although they do exist for mothers).

Here is another fact: many health professionals do not routinely ask men as simple a question as “How is your mental illness affecting your kids?” Indeed, a recent survey by SANE found that 64 per cent of parents with a mental illness reported that mental health professionals had not adequately considered the needs of their family when developing a treatment plan.

Fortunately, there are some early signs that times are changing. The support organisation Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) has recently produced a website aimed at fathers. Universities and research organisations, including the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Parenting Research Centre, are conducting large-scale studies on father’s mental health, and investigating how service providers could better meet their needs.

And perhaps the most promising sign of all is that men like Clark are going out and talking to other fathers about their experiences. Two years on from his battle with depression, Clark works for Anglicare running an outreach and education service with families for whom mental illness is a concern. 

“Recovery meant decoupling my identity from my performance and has changed me immensely”, he says. “Being a father and largely recovered from my illness; I see this as an advantage now, rather than a disadvantage. I’m teaching my kids the skills that I’ve learned being in recovery. We do things slower and more mindfully. We’re less busy and less ambitious. I teach them about feelings and what to do with them”.

There is much work to be done in bridging the conceptual gap our society has created between mental health and fatherhood. We need to make it easier for men to reflect upon and talk about their mental illness and how it influences them as fathers, so that more may develop the care and insight that Clark displays.

This need not be difficult - we can start with health professionals. As academic Richard Fletcher and his colleagues suggested in a recent article, “in primary clinical settings, men aged 25-54 years who are known to have a mental illness should be routinely asked about their fathering”.

On the cultural front, Channel Nine’s House Husbands might just be a baby-step towards normalising men who are closely connected to their families. Let’s hope it continues to do more than cash in on the cliché of the incompetent father. Better yet, let’s hope one of the husbands struggles with a mental illness.

Ultimately though, we need to ensure that our attitudes, our health and service systems, and our social policies all reflect the simple fact that many men struggling with mental health problems are fathers, too.

If you need help, or to talk to someone, visit SANE, Lifeline, or BeyondBlue.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm.

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73 comments

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    • Craig says:

      07:39am | 10/09/12

      And let’s not forget men going through separations, a natural time at which to feel depressed.

      Women get support, men get told to suck it up and cope.

      The kids suffer.

      When going through my separation, while having the kids full-time, no official agency contacted me to ask if I needed support.

      However I know women going through the same experience who received calls from four or more official groups offering support with depression.

      The only difference I can see is gender.

      If we want to reduce violence, then offering more support when it is needed would help stop men from going off the rails.

      Myself, I just sucked it up and dealt with the depression over a six year period.

    • Nathan Explosion says:

      08:02am | 10/09/12

      My parents split up in the mid eighties and neither of them recieved any calls from support groups. I guess it just depends on if your friends call them and ask the support groups to check up on them.

      I’ve had mental health issues since I was 8; my Dad told me to just get over it. I think us blokes need to look out for each other more and take mental health issues seriously.

    • John (KRE) F says:

      08:07am | 10/09/12

      Spot on Craig ! 100% agree

    • Warren says:

      08:21am | 10/09/12

      @CRaig. Why did you just “suck it up”? Why didn’t you look for support? Help is out there for both men and women. Nathan Explosion is correct, until Men take their health issues more seriously they will continue to suffer.

    • Fiddler says:

      08:24am | 10/09/12

      @Nathan, people close to us are generally pretty good about stuff like that. But a guy being known to suffer depression will be immediately called a pussy by those who aren’t immediately close to him.

      Plus it knocks him completely off the table as far as being attractive to females which then tends to make the depression worse. Hence why guys don’t talk about it.

    • Carramaena says:

      08:50am | 10/09/12

      I have separated from relationships/marriage with 3 children and no-one has called me up and offered me support (Yes I am female). I think that if women are getting support you will find it is because they have picked up the phone and asked for it. That is the difference too, men are more inclined to “suck it up and deal with it” whereas women are more likely to think that maybe they should get some help especially if they are all alone with the kids.

    • I, Claudia says:

      09:00am | 10/09/12

      Craig, violence is very rarely associated with depression itself (I assume you’re referring to Major Depressive Disorder). I am deeply sorry for the horrible experience you had to endure, but please don’t try to draw an association between abusive partners and depression.

    • Nathan Explosion says:

      09:00am | 10/09/12

      @Fiddler

      I’ve always been up front and open about my depression and anxiety, with women and employers. I still went out with a lot of women, and I’m happily married now.

      I did cop some stick from other guys, I usually told them to piss off.

    • marley says:

      09:15am | 10/09/12

      @Craig - I think the point of this article is to alert guys like you to the fact that men do suffer from depression, that it affects not just them but their kids, and that therefore they need to overcome their innate reluctance to reach out for help. 

      “Sucking it up” may be the “manly” thing to do, but it’s not in the interests of you or your kids:  get help, for the kids’ sake if not your own.

    • adie says:

      09:18am | 10/09/12

      My ex boyfriend is suffering from depression, but while we were together, i couldnt get him to seek out help.  If help came to him, he just lied and claimed he was ok.  in the end he left me, claiming he just needed to be alone.

      At my work, which is a male dominated industry, i suggested that for one of our advertising campaigns we team up with mens shed or beyond blue, as there is a high rate of depression/suicide in the demographic we target.  The guys in the meeting just laughed it off, saying that depressed men should just suck it up and get over it.

      The attitude i’ve noticed that many men have towards mental illness is shocking.  I know my ex equates mental illness with weakness, and i dont think he’s alone with that.

    • Stephen says:

      09:23am | 10/09/12

      Perhaps I, Claudia would care to explain why “abuse” cannot be linked to depression.

      I only ask because I see many females exonerated or treated leniently for the murder of their partners, because at the time they were suffering “depression” as a result of_________(fill in space here).

      Please include your professional qualifications.

    • the worlds gone mad says:

      09:44am | 10/09/12

      I went through a seperation in the mid 90s, I didn’t receive any calls or support (I’m female). 

      There is support for both genders, men are less likely to go looking for support or visit their doctor to discuss it. 

      Some men are violent because they think that their ex and the kids are their property, they don’t consider how their actions have caused the seperation.  It also seems that men are angry about paying child support, often saying that the ex uses it for herself, when really by the time she gets the child support she has already used all other income to pay for everything

      Theres also the men who choose to stop working so they only have to pay a couple of hundred dollars a year towards their children and think that even that is too much.

    • Nathan Explosion says:

      09:54am | 10/09/12

      @Stephen

      I would say abuse related would be more likely to be PTSD rather than MDD.

    • Fiddler says:

      10:51am | 10/09/12

      @ the worlds gone mad - I think you will find there are plenty of women who fall into that category too. Don’t make out as if it’s a gender thing.

    • Kika says:

      11:35am | 10/09/12

      Adie - You couldn’t have said it better. This is why women get the attention - they talk about it and SUPPORT EACH OTHER. Men are their own worst enemies when it comes to these sorts of things. It’s only men in blogs that want to vent about men’s issues when you ask most ordinary men that haven’t got the chips on their shoulders about men’s issues the most they will come up with is growing a mo in Movember (ah what about the fund raising?)... ask them about depression and mental illness and they will ignore it and tell you it doesn’t exist until the cows come home.

    • M says:

      12:08pm | 10/09/12

      Kika, that is a function of not only how we are/were raised, but also of biology. We are meant to be strong, anything less than strength is failure, socially, sexually, personally.

      The biggest problem with mental health in men is overcoming their own barriers to discussing the problem(s).

    • GigaStar says:

      12:43pm | 10/09/12

      M says:12:08pm | 10/09/12 “The biggest problem with mental health in men is overcoming their own barriers to discussing the problem(s).”

      That is so true M, but then you get posts written by Craig who blames everyone else. How was anyone supposed to know Craig needed help when he didn’t seek it out - did he expect people to be mind-readers.

    • Kika says:

      01:00pm | 10/09/12

      So M - what are you going to do about it? That’s the key.  Up until only fairly recently in history women weren’t allowed to talk about their problems either. Geez my Grandmother couldn’t even tell people she was pregnant - how embarassing!

    • M says:

      01:08pm | 10/09/12

      I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer that Kika, I’m one of those very same men who won’t talk about his problems for the afore mentioned reasons.

    • AFR says:

      01:37pm | 10/09/12

      “@Nathan, people close to us are generally pretty good about stuff like that. But a guy being known to suffer depression will be immediately called a pussy by those who aren’t immediately close to him.

      Plus it knocks him completely off the table as far as being attractive to females which then tends to make the depression worse. Hence why guys don’t talk about it. ‘

      Fiddler, its attitudes like that cause men (and women) who suffer to not speak out.

      I personally “lived a lie” for about a year, before, on the eve of Movember in 2010, coming out about my depression to my friends, family and colleagues. Sure, I got awesome donations that year, but what really touched me was the support I got from so many people, and others confiding in me that they were either suffering or wanted advice on what to do about a friend or partner of their own that they thought was struggling. My regret was that I didn’t say something earlier.

      As for relationships, if someone is that shallow they won’t take you for who you are, stuff them.  It’s not something you need to reveal on a first date, but I told my current girlfriend a week after we first started dating, and she has been nothing short of amazing in her support.

    • Baldricke says:

      01:55pm | 10/09/12

      “what are you going to do about it? “

      Nothing, as whenever the topic is raised, generally there’s a chorus of “poor widdle men have it so much worse” and calls of “privilege” and general sidetracking through ad hominem attacks and so on.  So, we’ll continue to go about life as we have, and those who can’t deal with things on their own will continue to knock themselves off/cause havoc on those around them. 

      That, and men don’t _like_ to talk about things and I rather suspect it will require a different solution than just applying what women find work for them and expecting men to embrace it.

    • Stormy Weather. says:

      02:57pm | 10/09/12

      Mothers still have to be careful about talking about their depression. If you are not middle class, educated, married and conservative, any kind of mental health issues could raise red flags to child protection unfortunately, rather than a counsellor. Especially if you are on welfare, you are already scrutinised more than an average mum.

      Also, fathers (or should I say their greedy lawyers) often use a mothers mental health issue to paint her as neurotic and unfit in custody battles. It’s one of their strategies.
      As for support for mothers, really? Where?
      I had to find it myself by talking to good and “trusted” GP and then find a good psychologist. I tried one of those “anonymous” phone lines once and my confidentiality was breached.
      I think fathers mental health is extremely important but I also think that many, many mothers still keep silent about how hard they find motherhood and of their depression.

    • Alfie says:

      08:06am | 10/09/12

      “...men get told to suck it up and cope.”

      “Myself, I just sucked it up and dealt with the depression over a six year period.”

      So, it works then?

    • Johnny Smith says:

      08:35am | 10/09/12

      Hopefully, the fact that being a parent is no longer a picnic for men, they will debunk the myth of the maternal instinct.  In the past it may have suited some patriarchal types to keep women bare-foot and pregnant, but now that they have to split parenting and housework, this may be exposed for the rubbish that it is.

    • Tubesteak says:

      10:53am | 10/09/12

      “the fact that being a parent is no longer a picnic for men”

      Being a parent has never been a picnic for men. This is just feminist propaganda where they liked to paint men as retiring to their dens to read the paper and drink a Scotch only emerging to belt their wives and kids. The poor wimmins had to scrub the floors every day and live under the tyranny of a ruler who kept them chained to a sink.

      You can find the original feminist statement on snopes that tries to play up this stereotype.

      “but now that they have to split parenting and housework”

      What is this “now” business? M<y father was doing housework decades ago. This was on top of a full-time job and when mum didn’t work.

      The absentee breadwinner father thing is mostly myth. Both my father and grandfather were active members of their families and they were pretty common.

    • bael says:

      11:25am | 10/09/12

      Men have always done unpaid housework. However for some reason fixing windows, replastering holes in the wall, relacing carpets, minor electrical maintance of machines, hanging doors, heavy lifting and pest removal to mention a few things.
      I could go on listing things my Dad did and now I do but are never included as worthy of being a household task.
      It seems men are expected to do everything we used to do plus half of what women used to do whislt also not asking for anything in return.

    • Tubesteak says:

      08:54am | 10/09/12

      “Seldom do we celebrate men for their emotional intelligence or for sacrifices they make”

      To make it in business requires an immense amount of sacrfice and emotional intelligence. Don’t kid yourself otherwise. The image we have of the weak woman always needing propping up and support as being the emotionally aware one because she is “in tune” with her emotions is not emotonally intelligent. Quite the opposite, in fact. Emotionally intelligent people are ones who can recognise and deal with their emotions and learn to control them. Being controlled by your emotions is not intelligent or mature.

    • Kika says:

      01:09pm | 10/09/12

      Tubesteak - Emotional Intelligence does not only mean ‘dealing’ with your own emotions. EQ also means dealing and socialising with other people and understanding them. That’s a bit different to being stuck up your own a*ss and loving yourself for being so ‘with it’.

    • Tubesteak says:

      01:52pm | 10/09/12

      “EQ also means dealing and socialising with other people and understanding them.”

      That would be the other half of the equation, yes.

      Know thyself and know others. This is one of the necessities for professional success.

    • Joan Bennett says:

      09:17am | 10/09/12

      Tubesteak, I don’t think I’ve agreed with any other human being more.  I am astounded at the way EVERYONE I meet (men and women) seem to be lead by their emotions, instead of logic.  This is why the decisions they make end up making them so unhappy!  As someone who uses logic and reason to make my decisions, I find I just don’t seem to get into the messes that everyone around me does.  In every respect, I am the same as my fellow humanoids, except this, so assume this is the reason.

    • M says:

      09:33am | 10/09/12

      You would be entirely correct.

    • Asrael says:

      09:50am | 10/09/12

      Good morning Sheldon!

    • Sickemrex says:

      10:38am | 10/09/12

      Live long and prosper, Vulcan.

      BTW I agree.

    • Marvin says:

      11:27am | 10/09/12

      You sound emotionally warmer than my ex, wanna go out sometime?

    • D says:

      09:18am | 10/09/12

      Great article that highlights an important social issue facing families in the fast paced world of modern parenting.  This is not a a gender issue.  This is a issue that faces many men and women who struggle on through raising kids hopefully passing on to them them the tools that will allow them to cope better when they in fact become parents themselves.  As a father with anxiety I welcome any broader conversation and research into the best possible support available for fathers to assist them raise happy and healthy children as well as manitain a loving relationship with their partner.

    • jimbo says:

      10:05am | 10/09/12

      In my experience, you can’t logic your way out of depression.  You can seek help, which is logical but best of luck thinking your way out of it.

    • Fluvoxamine says:

      11:52am | 10/09/12

      Yeah, “thinking your way out of depression” is next to “dig up” as an effective way to get out of a hole.

    • Emma says:

      12:51pm | 10/09/12

      Would that it was that easy, hey? Depression generally isn’t logical at all - certainly in my experience of it!

    • willie says:

      05:11pm | 10/09/12

      You absolutely can.
      “I’m feeling pretty shit, oh wait I felt pretty bad yesterday too. Hey maybe this is a trend. You know what maybe I’m depressed. Let’s see what would make me less depressed. I could get drunk, no better not. I could go see my friends, yeah that usually cheers me up”
      Then repeat until happy. The trick is working out that getting drunk or stoned or lying in bed do not make you happy.

      The only way to beat depression without logic is drugs.

    • Sam says:

      10:17am | 10/09/12

      “the new father. - He helps us feel good about how far we have come since the bad old days of the emotionally absent breadwinner.”

      Interesting article and hopefully many more will realise the importance of what you are saying, but the wording on the paragragh of new father had me wondering. Who is the ‘we’, because as a society I don’t think the “bad old days” were bad?

      I would be in your new-father boat along with all my dad-mates. We do it not for some type of fuzzy feel-good, but because it is the only way to makes home-lives livable as our partners work as well because we don’t have the option not to with costs of living.

      It is good males have become emotionally closer to their families, but it has come at a cost that most females do not have the choice but to become more emotionally distant from the same families.  Is this a progression from “bad days”?

      House Husbands - “Let’s hope it continues to do more than cash in on the cliché of the incompetent father”.

      Won’t happen, it is the basis of the show’s supposed “comedy”. TV makers opinion on the drivers of the target audience hasn’t evolved far enough to make something different.

    • John F says:

      10:54am | 10/09/12

      I liked the quote on “House Husbands” the “the parenting book was written by women so being a man we are doomed to fail”

    • marley says:

      11:12am | 10/09/12

      So, they write their own parenting book.  Geez.

    • St. Michael says:

      12:52pm | 10/09/12

      We did.  “Manhood” and “Raising Boys”, by Steve Biddulph.

    • James1 says:

      02:13pm | 10/09/12

      Or the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.  It teaches you a lot about being a man and living with honour, at least, and many of those lessons have served me well in fatherhood.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      11:21am | 10/09/12

      We all know about the “Stolen Generations” - both Aboriginal & those children stolen from their parents by the UK Government & sent out to Australia to live with constant bullying, sex abuse etc.
      Then there are the “Forgotten Generations”. Men.
      We are constantly being told of the abuse women endure at the hands of men. Mostly it is, by the “experts” own admission, Physical. Some very vicious resulting in broken bones, lacerations etc.
      This is, naturally, to be abhorred by decent men.
      However, women are very bit as capable of inflicting applaing abuse on men. This abuse is very different. It leaves no bruises, no visible scars all of which fade over time. The abuse men are subjected to is mostly Emotional, Mental - call it what you will. That damge lasts a life-time. But no-one - particularly governments and those bodies which seem, almost exclusively, to only have female staff - from top to bottom. Organisations like those dealing with Sex/Gender Discrimination. Equal Opportunity, the Family Courts. They simply don’t want to hear the other side of any argument which comes from the male side.
      have to go. More later!!!

    • GigaStar says:

      12:49pm | 10/09/12

      How did a constructive article about men’s health get to “let’s blame it all on women”? How can you possibly think that once the scars fade from physical abuse that mental scarring doesn’t last. I forgot - because its only a woman. Men have it soooo much worst.

    • John (KRE) F says:

      01:14pm | 10/09/12

      So GigaStar, you don’t believe that some of the mental health issue’s that men have wernt first kicked off by their spouses ?
      If you have a problem with anything, go to the source. In many cases that source is women, just as much as when some women have a problem the source of that problem is men.
      It’s really simple actually.
      But the worst one which is largley the fault of women is parental alienation, considering that the vast majority of children are with their mother’s then it stands to reason that one day these same children will grow up with mental health issues that were caused by their mothers mental abuse of them.
      And so the cycle continues !

    • M says:

      01:15pm | 10/09/12

      We do, we have to put up with women.

    • GigaStar says:

      01:30pm | 10/09/12

      “So GigaStar, you don’t believe that some of the mental health issue’s that men have wernt first kicked off by their spouses ?”

      Finally you get it John - SOME mental health issues. Not all like Robert is saying. Parental alienation is not all the woman’s fault. I have plenty of female friends whose ex-husbands make excuses and don’t turn up on their allotted days. It runs both ways. I even have a friend whose husband ran off with his secretary when she was 7 months pregnant. He didn’t even call to see how everyone was when the child was born. One gender doesn’t have it over the other in the shithead stakes - though your posts always try to tilt it that way.

    • colin says:

      01:50pm | 10/09/12

      Robert S McCormick 11:21am | 10/09/12

      OFFS. Do you even KNOW what a real, equal, man-woman relationship looks like? How damaged are you? Men and women who are equals, who are grown-ups, who are intelligent, reasonable adults have good, fair, equitable relationships; the world is NOT full of women who are “Out to get you”. Women are not inherently “Evil” and your skewed view of the world could do with a large dose of psychiatric help.

    • ByStealth says:

      02:36pm | 10/09/12

      One gender doesn’t have it over the other in the shithead stakes - though your posts always try to tilt it that way.

      I agree with you on this. The reason that many guys vent out on these blogs is because their concerns aren’t acknowledged in the mainstream media or by society in general.

      When you are told time and again that nothing is wrong and hit with shaming language whenever you point out the emperor has no clothes (men don’t have it sweet in every area of life) it builds resentment until you become driven to link everything back to men’s rights. You also start to despise the people that belittle what you see as very real concerns which is where the vitriol comes from.

      You wouldn’t find guys engaging in the oppression olympics (men/women have it worse) if society took their issues a bit more seriously. As soon as people say ‘you know what mate? men do get screwed in that way.’ things die down very quickly.

    • stephen says:

      11:41am | 10/09/12

      I think that ‘empathy’ is to blame for a lot of emotional disturbances, hence to mental illnesses. It forces our defenses to drop so that we feel things that we shouldn’t.
      (We should ‘feel’ to inspire us to an act, such as an alleviation.)
      So I think that such a feeling encourages us to feel sorry for things in which we can have no influence in changing for the better ; we reinforce in ourselves responses which are insipid and unproductive.
      Isn’t this the way, nowadays ?
      We see so much harm and misfortune around us in from the media, and that we cannot do something constructive to solve problems, we are then encouraged to empathize -  I repeat, a most useless response if it is not a trigger for action - as if, when others see our tears, we can be felt sorry for too and be a part of the solidarity of victimhood.

      Such a form as self-pity will lead I think to depression.
      Useless and manufactured feelings, in search of a sentence.

    • ByStealth says:

      11:44am | 10/09/12

      While I applaud your article, I wish we didn’t have to link men’s mental health to only fathers for it to be an imporant issue for society. Its kind of alluding to the fact that we only care about the health of men where it impacts on their ability to protect and provide for their family.

      Without getting too sidetracked into the disposability of men, I think that all men need to learn to better manage their mental health. I had a friend take his own life once due to depression and I suspect he could have been saved with health services intelligently targetted directly towards men through an understanding of male psychology and their gender roles.

    • cinyc says:

      11:57am | 10/09/12

      One of my friends suffers from mental illness, he was diagnosed with depression, bi polar and schitzophrenia.  He had a breakdown, sought help and takes various medications to combat it.  His brothers have repeatedly belittled him saying that he should just get over it.  They have no understanding of what his problems are even though he has tried to explain to them for many years, they are embarrassed and ashamed by the stigma. 

      If families can be so heartless to one of their own then we have a hhell of a lot of work to do to change societies views.

    • Pudel says:

      12:09pm | 10/09/12

      My household is very different to the household I grew up in, my husband helps with a lot of the household tasks, he is the ironer and does a lot of cooking and tidying.  I am the taxi and the person who gets the kids where they need to be.  My husband is also away on work between 1 and 3 nights most weeks and can be away for a week at a time. (not often but can happen and does 2-3 times a year)
      My mother always cooked and expected us girls to help, dad and my brother were always served their meals first.  My father was however always there for us and a very active participant in our lives.  He helps out with loading the dishwasher and a few jobs now, but no where near as much as my hubby.
      My husband also suffers from clinical depression, he is on meds (and hates them, but knows he is worse off them), he holds down a demanding job and is a very “there” father when he is home.  He has suffered depression since his teenage years and fortunately for our family got help early as he recognised the signs.  He finds it hard to get back into the noise of the family after being away for a few days, and needs quiet time occasionally.  However as a family we cope with his illness pretty well.
      Weirdly I believe fathers can also get depression from the chaos children bring to life.  My husbands depression reared its head again when our children were babies, father also have lack of sleep and a huge change to life.  They deal with massive highs and lows just like their partners do.  If a man is prone to depression I believe childbirth and new parenthood are risk times and as a society we should be watching fathers as well as mothers for signs of depression.

    • anon says:

      01:32pm | 10/09/12

      It is not socially acceptable for a man to talk about his problems. Long way off. Unfortunately for those that cannot deal with their problems internally, or have the courage to speak up, it comes out in other ways (addiciton, violence, self-harm).

      We can’t expect women to understand that. So I am not surprised with some of the replies.

    • M says:

      01:47pm | 10/09/12

      Of course we can’t. Sharing and emoting is second nature to them, and is part of the way they bond with other females. It’s alien to them when we say “we just can’t talk about it.” They literally cannot understand why it should be such a big issue.

    • Nathan Explosion says:

      02:49pm | 10/09/12

      You know what? I do understand what these women are saying. I *do* talk about my problems, and with some of my male mates as well. We share tips for dealing. I put my hand up and asked for help. The missus has been incredibly supportive as well.

      If some judges me for doing that, or thinks that I’m weak or unmanly, stuff them. I don’t care what they think.

    • colin says:

      03:17pm | 10/09/12

      @ Nathan Explosion 02:49pm | 10/09/12

      “I put my hand up and asked for help. The missus has been incredibly supportive as well….”

      See, M, Real Men ask for help and don’t care who sees their emotions…

      So - if you are a man like others - tell me, M; what terrible psychological trauma did you suffer as a child that made you so intolerant and misogynistic today..?

    • M says:

      03:33pm | 10/09/12

      IN my experience Nathan, you’d be a rare one. You aren’t weak for being able to share, its the healthy thing to do. The problem is not all men are so able or willing to share thier own feelings, and thus they bottle it up until they can take no more. The issue is getting through the mental barriers that men errect so that they may have a healthy outlet for their emotions. As to how that can be done, I am at a loss. I am one of those who is uncomfortable with sharing.

    • colin says:

      02:22pm | 10/09/12

      @M 01:47pm | 10/09/12

      You are talking about men, not Neanderthals, aren’t you..?

      “We just can’t talk about it”. Why?!? Are you so un-evolved? What on earth is this ridiculous and deliberate dichotomy that you keep peddling where women are - somehow - so “Different” to us..? And setting-up women as “The Other” is simply abhorrent psychological belittling…

      What are you so scared about in discussing your feelings? Do you think that it is - a la 1920s style - not “Manly”..?

    • M says:

      02:37pm | 10/09/12

      THis proves you are a woman.

    • Nathan Explosion says:

      02:53pm | 10/09/12

      @M

      Thanks, mate, that’s really helpful and goes a long way to addressing problems.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      02:34pm | 10/09/12

      Nowhere in my earlier post did I blame, as you all seem to have decided, Women for all of men’s problems. I simply said “women are every bit as capable of inflicting appalling abuse on men” That is true.
      “Colin” In answer to your question “Do you even know what a real equal man-woman relationship looks like”
      The answer is YES a 1000 times for I was in one for almost 30 Years when death intervened. So stick that where it hurts!
      In answer to your next question: “How damaged are you?”
      I am not in the slightest bit damaged, unless you consider Widower-hood as being damaged.
      Nor do I blame women for everything. Nor did I state anywhere that I thought they were ‘evil’
      I did have reason to lodge a complaint with one of the bodies I mentioned about a female employee. I was phoned by a very pleasant woman who apologised and told me that because my complaint was against a woman I could expect no help from the Commissioner. I eventually got a letter signed by the said Commissioner who told me that my claim had been rejected.
      Colin, it is not I who needs a dose of anything. It is you who needs to go back to school & learn to READ and not put your own words & interpretation into what other people write.
      PS. Unlike so many & I suspect you, I at least have the honesty to use my real name.

    • colin says:

      03:00pm | 10/09/12

      @Robert S McCormick 02:34pm | 10/09/12

      Well, Robert, believe it or not, my wife died about 11 years ago, so I KNOW what it was like; I had to bring up two very grief-stricken young children.

      BUT - and this is sorely evident in your post despite your protestations that it isn’t - your posts are just like the others on here; full of angst against so-called “Abusive” women. And yet, most on here also talk about “Manning up” - and yet then go on to whinge about women “Abusing” them. If you’re such Big Men, how can - by your own assertions - possibly have smaller women get the Upper Hand on you…?

    • colin says:

      02:47pm | 10/09/12

      @M 02:37pm | 10/09/12

      “THis proves you are a woman.”

      And your infantile replies prove that you are a troll who is unable to engage in any conversation at a mature and intelligent level because you have unresolved gender issues.

    • M says:

      02:55pm | 10/09/12

      Exactly how is anything you write representative of mature and intelligent debate?

    • ByStealth says:

      02:54pm | 10/09/12

      Some people hate generalising about gender. I can understand that. People are people and should be looked at individually.

      Still when talking about societal wide issues, speaking in generalities is necessary. This includes talking about the tendancy for men to act like *this* and women to act like *this*.

      Annecdotal evidence points towards women not sexually selecting for men that show weakness. I think men instinctively know this and its reinforced through societal expectation of male behaviour. From birth boys are told time and again to ‘toughen up’ and ‘man up’ in preparation for their proscribed gender responsibilities. So with all this conditioning it is difficult to expect men, especially those with less emotional intelligence, to admit to what is still felt (but not admitted to) by many in society as weakness. For these guys it means shame, the loss of affection from their women, and social isolation. Better to pretend it doesn’t exist because the consequences of doing so are seen as less.

      I’m not saying this is how it should be, I’m saying this is how it is right now. Its going to take time to get society’s expectations of men to change and for that to filter down to future generations.

      Personally I think the solution is more awareness and education of the existence of mental illness and (govt funded) targeted services towards men. If men saw mental illness like any other physical injury and were encouraged to seek treatment from a positive ‘getting sh#t done’ perspective, I think we’d see better outcomes for men and society in general.

    • M says:

      03:27pm | 10/09/12

      You managed to write my thoughts on the issue much clearer than I would have been able to myself. On the societal expectations, I think we both grow into this as well as it being there instinctivly. I don’t know about other guys, but to many people in my life I am a rock. Immovable, unflustered, always ready and eager to hear about their problems and offer advice if they ask it of me. I fill this role as a both a brother and a friend, and on occaision as a son.

      And this is where we have the issues with communication. I am afraid of letting my true feelings being known because I am afriad of first failing those who rely on me for support, and secondly I am afraid of failing myself. If my sisters have a boy problem or they just get sick of girls, they’ll come to me for advice, help and support. A surprising amount of both girl and guy mates ask me for advice, or for comfort or understanding. Funnily enough, having three younger sisters taught me that to empathise with someone is more important to their wellbeing than fully understanding their problem, and half the time they really only need a face to listen to them while they talk.

      Lastly comes sexual rejection. No girl wants to be with a man who is weak. To admit weakness to someone you are not dating is the end of any futher relations, and I don’t care how many women say they want a sensitive man, or one who is in touch with his feelings.

      I remember once everything was getting to me and I had an outburst, a mate asked me what was wrong, as usually in his eyes I have always been the rock, the go to guy, the completely stable and dependable best friend. Happy go lucky, nothing ever gets me down.

      I doubt very many people who know me know that at points I have struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts. I hide it well. I try to get on with my day and not let my emotions get in the way of work, friendships, or other relationships. Cool calm, and collected, just what is expected of me. Sharing problems only creates more problems. Men see you as weak, women see you as weak, family sees you as weak, best not to tell them at all. And besides, I like to think I can deal with my own shit. Largely this is true.

      On occasion the bottle has helped me get through a rough patch and to see the other side, but that’s never a long term solution. I am pretty much only capable of sharing feelings with other men after one too many drinks. It’s sort of ok if you’re both tanked, because you’re both hoping the other wont remember it in the morning, or will at least have the good grace not to mention it again.

      I’m willing to bet there are many men like me.

    • ByStealth says:

      04:27pm | 10/09/12

      And this is where we have the issues with communication. I am afraid of letting my true feelings being known because I am afriad of first failing those who rely on me for support, and secondly I am afraid of failing myself.

      I’m the same. I wish there was more tolerance and acceptance of failure in men. I wonder how much of this attitude is nature vs nuture. With only 40% of men in history managing to pass on their genes, it wouldn’t surprise me if a ‘failure is not an option’ attitude is hardwired into us.

      I’m willing to bet there are many men like me.

      There are. The trick is to find a trusted group of friends who you can share problems with early on before they begin to fester. I used to be one of the ‘lets get on the turps to talk about stuff’ guys, but I recently found out that with the right type of mate we can just catch up for a coffee or smash the gym and still get problems resolved.

      This is why I’m such a proponent of male only spaces, because I think they are the places where guys gather to talk out their issues in a safe environment away from people who will judge them. It’s also why I get my back up when people go ‘but everywhere is a male space’.

    • Inky says:

      03:42pm | 10/09/12

      Heh, enjoy your petty namecalling, imma go back to my depression.

    • nihonin says:

      04:24pm | 10/09/12

      lol, that is all, I’m now emotionally worn out.

    • just shut up ! says:

      04:20pm | 10/09/12

      if the liberals get elected federally, we will all suffer from the depression.

 

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