by Rachael Ward

New dad Matt Carter knew something wasn’t quite right when he suddenly became overwhelmed with sadness as soon as his two babies started crying.

From there it just snowballed. He experienced several breakdowns before finally telling a maternal and child health nurse he was struggling.

The now father of three was eventually diagnosed with postnatal depression, a condition he didn’t even know could impact men, as it is often associated with mums.

“There was a lot of anxiety, a lot of sadness,” Mr Carter told AAP.

“A lot of just me pulling away from my wife and my babies as well, just wanting to kind of be left alone because I didn’t know what to do. I was lost.”

More Men Seeking Support

The youth justice worker is among the growing number of dads who have sought support from the Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia hotline.

About one-in-10 of the 2600 calls to the line in the past year were from men, and the number of dads seeking help through their online checklist has also doubled.

It’s difficult to know the exact number of parents with postnatal depression, but the service cites figures estimating up to one-in-five mothers and one-in-10 fathers experience anxiety or depression in the year after birth.

Chief executive Julie Borninkhof said the jump in dads seeking help could partly be attributed to more men becoming comfortable with seeking support; however, stigma still stops many parents from coming forward.

“Whilst the system isn’t geared as readily to support dads as it is mums, they do have a voice and a right to ask for support,” Ms Borninkhof said.

She said disruptions over the last few years also took a toll, particularly in Victoria, where hospital birthing and aftercare systems were impacted by lockdowns.

“We know 67 per cent of dads don’t feel confident in becoming a parent, we want them to know that they can have the experience they want and they can grow that confidence.”

Reaching Out

Mr Carter describes his wife as his rock, who has been incredibly supportive of him, and wants other men to know that they are not alone.

He found a psychologist he clicked with and started The Touched Out Podcast in an effort to create a community.

“Reach out to friends, reach out to family, just know that talking about what’s wrong and what’s bothering you isn’t a bad thing, it will help,” he said.

“Even if it feels like you’re going to be weak or less of a man or anything like that, that’s not correct.

“Emotions don’t have a gender and it’s important to talk these things out.”

  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • beyondblue 1300 22 4636


Originally published in Illawarra Mercury. Photo by mehmet dadük.

About the Author: Guest Writer

Dads4Kids is a harm prevention charity committed to excellence in fathering. Our vision is to transform the nation by inspiring fathers to help their children be the best they can be. There’s a crisis in Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 870,000 children, more than 1 in 6, live without their biological father at home.

Leave A Comment