Major depression is the most widespread mental illness in Canada. The WHO predicts that, in 2020, it will be the leading cause of disability in industrialized countries. Surprisingly, it is in the period surrounding the birth of a child that men and women are at greatest risk of depression. It seems that, in Québec, over 8 percent of men suffer symptoms of depression one year after the birth of their child. Depressed men are also more likely to be dealing with higher parental stress and anxiety.
Although it seems obvious that health care professionals should pay equal attention to fathers and mothers it has been found that in fact many, including nurses and midwives, center their attention on the mother-child unit rather than on the family as a whole. It follows that a large number of fathers express a degree of distress trying to find a place and role in the family, This research program is designed to examine men's experiences as fathers, from the perinatal period to early childhood. The goal is to get a better grasp on the events that can lead to paternal depression or anxiety, as well as the factors that protect against these problems. The purpose is to improve health care services and practices with respect to fathers so as to promote their mental health. A healthy father contributes to the well-being of the whole family!