What is there to know about Fathers’ mental health?

In a society where we’re (rightfully so) encouraging men to be expressive, not hide their feelings or reinforce this “macho” image, what is there to know about fathers’ mental health? Or perhaps more appropriate to ask, what do we know about their mental health? In this post, I shall be exploring exactly that. If you have any thoughts, just leave them in the comments below!

The Frugal Frenchie

What to know about Fathers' mental health?

Father’s supportive role

When having a baby, we often hear about maternal mental health, over paternal mental health. Of course, having a baby is a massive deal, and some women do develop perinatal mental health issues, but this isn’t to say that the Father can be mentally affected too.

In a study by Hanzak (2016), they asked Mother’s who had experienced maternal mental illnesses, how much their partner was able to help. The answers were mixed. Some said their partners were unhelpful, accounting their symptoms for just regular “postnatal” feelings or just saying “I’m tired too.” Others were unsure of how to help but they tried the best they could. They often didn’t have the resources and struggled to cope. Other Mothers were more positive and said that they stopped working and helped with the baby, managed to bond and was extremely patient.
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My dissertation on the impact of maternal mental health

As many of you know I currently study a BSc in Psychology. I am in my final year and (all things going well) should graduate in June 2019. This obviously means that I am working on my dissertation, so I thought I’d share a little bit about it, especially as it’s something that impacts a lot of women today and is something that needs to be spoken out about. I hope you find it as interesting as I do!

The Frugal Frenchie

My dissertation on the impact of maternal mental health

My topic and why I chose it 

I’ve decided to do my dissertation on postnatal OCD, more specifically on what, if any impact there is on infant attachment type. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. I am a very maternal person, I love hearing about their behaviour and what they get up to- I mean most people I follow on Instagram are very active mums who love putting stories up!
  2. Maternal, or parental health in general needs to be further researched, but I found that particularly postnatal OCD lacked insight. Perhaps this was a matter of there are fewer people diagnosed or not many people chose to focus on it in their research- I have no clue. I just thought for my personal interest, and in the interest of adding something of value to the academic field, I thought I would focus on postnatal OCD.

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What is antenatal and postnatal depression?

As part of the Clinical Psychology unit I am currently studying, we have done a fair bit on parental mental health. This week I thought I would talk about depression, addressing what antenatal and postnatal depression is. I hope this is useful for you and sheds light on new things you may not have considered before.

The Frugal Frenchie

Symptoms for antenatal depression

According to the diagnosis criteria (DSM-5)…

  • Chronic anxiety
  • Guilty
  • Incessant crying
  • Lack of energy- which lack of sleep doesn’t help
  • Relationship worries- will my partner leave once the baby is born?
  • Conflict with parents
  • Isolation – from friends, or due to not feeling the same as other mums
  • Fear to seek help – will my baby be taken away if I speak out?

Causes of antenatal depression

  • Physical

There are many physical changes during pregnancy. For some, body changes can be distressing: weight gain, swollen breasts, dizziness, nausea, exhaustion, heartburn, fainting etc. It can lower self-esteem and make normal, mundane activities suddenly seem unachievable or difficult, which can lead to isolation or feelings on inadequacy.

Hormonal changes and tiredness can also impact mental health – in fact, Ohayon & Roth (2003) found over 40% of participants reported symptoms of insomnia before developing a mood disorder, including depression and bipolar disorder. This was supported by findings showing that treating insomnia symptoms can be beneficial towards reducing/preventing depression (Londborg, et al, 2000).

What is antenatal and postnatal depression? Continue reading “What is antenatal and postnatal depression?”

What are mental health illnesses?

With people often misusing mental health terms, it can become difficult to truly understand the meaning of mental health. Are people just exaggerating? What can we do if people are truly struggling? Before answering these questions, I thought it’d be best to answer what are mental health illnesses? Let me know if this has been useful.

The Frugal Frenchie

What are mental health illnesses?

“Abnormal” behaviour

In the past, before mental health awareness, people would describe those, who showed “abnormal” behaviour as mad, crazy, or other derogatory words. This is something I’ve mentioned in a previous post about mental health stigma, so make sure to read that too.

Now, the sheer idea of “abnormal,” is controversial. What does this mean, exactly? Traditionally, it’d be defined as a behaviour or act that doesn’t conform to societal standards, expectations or norms. This is all subjective, however: whose norms are they? Who is establishing them? People’s behaviour, or judgements, are 100% subjective. Even our self-judgements are not necessarily fair representations, as our beliefs can be distorted.

As a matter of fact, in clinical psychology, “abnormal,” behaviour is not defined or measured according to how strange an act or behaviour is, how unjustified or irrational it may seem. It’s defined by the degree of interference the behaviour has on life, work and relationships. When somebody says “I love having my desk tidy, I’m so OCD about it,” that is not interfering with your life. It isn’t something that stops you working, restricts you doing activities you love and so on: that’s an incorrect and potentially offensive way of using the term OCD.

The degree to how a behaviour interferes with one’s life is an essential symptom for many mental health illnesses. Otherwise, it would be very hard to establish when somebody’s negative thoughts were just due to a bad week, or if it was associated with ill mental health.

Cultural and societal norms do not make the definition of “abnormal.”

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Mental Health Stigma- does it still exist?

Mental Health Stigma- does it still exist? Perhaps a bold title and question to discuss, but it’s important to openly speak about it, out of fear of otherwise, subconsciously, becoming a silent supporter of this stigma. This is a different style of post, based on lectures that I have received during my BSc in Psychology. Hope you learn something new.

The Frugal Frenchie

Defining a stigma

First of all, do you know what is meant by a stigma? It can mean several things:

“a mark or sign of disgrace or discredit”
“disqualified from full social acceptance”
“negative effects of a label”

 

The Institute of Psychiatry actually described a stigma as having three components: that of ignorance (as a stigma is based on preconceived ideas and assumptions), prejudice and discrimination.

Note: discrimination and stigmas are not the same. Stigma focuses more on prejudice and ill-educated statements (a reason I’m writing this post today), whereas discrimination is more of an act. An act, preventing people from being treated equally or having equal access to opportunities or services. Continue reading “Mental Health Stigma- does it still exist?”

How to deal with stress in the workplace

I’ve recently just started a new job that requires more responsibility, more time management skills, more pressure and more running-back-and-forth-like-a- mad-woman. Although I have yet to master this, I have been really thinking about how to deal with stress in the workplace, so I thought I’d make it into a post. Hope it helps!

The Frugal Frenchie

Tip No.1 Focus on one thing at a time

How to deal with stress in the workplace

It’s sometimes easy to think about how many jobs you have to do and then trying to start and complete them all at once. Try and get through them one at a time so you don’t have loads of incomplete jobs on the go which can result in you looking like you’re slacking or being lazy.

Quality not quantity, guys!

Tip No.2 Teamwork

This, of course, depends on the nature of your job, but if there is a possibility to work on a project or ask the advice or opinions of colleagues do it!

If one of the sources of your workplace stress is not being 100% sure of what to expect, then ask a more experienced colleague for a quick tip. Alternatively, if you manage a team, make sure you distribute jobs evenly and make sure that everyone knows what they need to do. They may be unaware of all the jobs that need doing so don’t always expect them to be psychics and do it instinctively!

How to deal with stress in the workplace

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