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Children of Depressed Dads Suffer Speech Delays

Postnatal depression in moms is at last being recognized, and today more moms feel able to seek help and treatment without being stigmatized.

Society doesn’t treat dads as well. Men often get depressed after the birth of a baby, and studies suggest around 3-4% of fathers suffer from depression. Another study published this week suggests that depressed dads may affect their children too.

Two-year-olds with slow speech development were twice as likely to have a depressed father than those with average speech. Researchers speculate that depressed fathers are less likely to interact with their children, and particularly to read to them. Reading to babies and toddler is known to improve speech skills.

Men are more likely to not get treatment for depression, perhaps feeling it’s not ‘manly’ to ask for help, or imagining they will be perceived as weak if they admit they have a problem. If you feel the father of your baby is suffering from depression, let them know that it’s OK to get help, that depression is a genuine medical condition, and that they are no less of a man or a father to suffer from it. They will be more of a man to seek help, and they can be more of a father when they are receiving treatment and begin the road to recovery.


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