I am a new dad or partner

Postnatal depression affects as many as one in every 10 women within a year of giving birth, but it can also affect dads and partners as well. Up to one in 25 new dads/partners experience depression or a problem with their emotional wellbeing after having a baby.

Many new dads or partners think that they can't talk about how they're feeling because they need to appear strong for their partner. It can also feel like there isn't an opportunity for dads and partners to ask for help.

If you're struggling, you're not alone. Finding the right support is not only important for you but for the wellbeing of your family as well.

Why can partners experience low moods or anxiety after their baby's birth?

Feeling anxious about being a good parent, particularly when it's your first time, can affect dads and partners as much as mums.

Not getting as much sleep or time to relax and dealing with money worries or changes in your relationships, for example, can also add to the stress you may be feeling.

Some partners and dads may find themselves under even more pressure if they're supporting a partner who is experiencing postnatal depression or who is recovering from a premature or difficult birth.

Signs that you may be experiencing depression, include:

  • Feeling low, sad, guilty, irritable or hopeless.
  • Loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy.
  • Low self-esteem and loss of confidence.
  • Withdrawing from family and friends and not wanting to go out to see people.
  • Poor memory and difficulty concentrating or taking in information.
  • Feeling overwhelmed by problems and struggling to cope.
  • Thinking negatively and expecting or looking for bad things to happen.
  • Feeling negative about the future.

You can find out more about low moods and depression and when to speak to your GP here.

From Dads to Dads is a website especially for dads, featuring real life experiences, useful facts and information explained simply by experts. It also has information about dads' mental health, how to support a partner with postnatal depression and the effects of a traumatic birth on both mum and dad.

How can I find help for my wellbeing?

If you've been feeling low or very anxious and this is having an impact on your day-to-day life, you should consider going to see your GP. Find out more about when you should talk to your GP and how to prepare for a GP appointment.

Leeds Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) is a service which provides talking therapies to help people who are stressed, experiencing low mood or depression or feeling very anxious. This service is open to anyone over 17 years old in Leeds so it is available for partners or other family members. This is not a crisis service so there is usually a short wait. You can refer online here or contact the service on 0113 843 4388.

Another great place to look for help is the free Baby Buddy app. The app acts as your personal baby 'bubby' which can guide you through your partner's pregnancy and the first six months of your baby's life. It was developed with mums, partners, midwives and GPs and was created a by a charity called Best Beginnings to be used by all families in the UK. The app gives you lots of practical information about taking care of your baby and help for you as a dad or partner. You can download the app from Google Play or from the App Store. There is also a web version of Baby Buddy. You can read the app's privacy policy and terms of use here.

What should I do if I need help immediately?

If you feel that you or someone else is in immediate danger, you should call 999 immediately.

If you've had previous contact with mental health services in Leeds - do you have a crisis plan with contact details? If you are unable to find the plan, you can call Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust's Single Point of Access (SPA) on 0300 300 1485. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can text 07983 323867. The SPA is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you've not had any previous contact with mental health services in Leeds and cannot wait for an urgent GP appointment: call NHS 111 (freephone, open 24 hours a day) - a highly trained adviser, supported by healthcare professionals, will ask you a series of questions and immediately direct you to the best service to support your needs.

How to find emotional support in Leeds

I need help now can help you find a range of telephone support if you need someone to talk to as well as places you can go in an emotional crisis, including:

Connect is a telephone helpline for people living in Leeds. The service provides emotional support and information for people in distress. Trained volunteers provide compassionate, non-judgemental support and can give information about other services, if needed. You can also talk to Connect through instant chat.

Open 6pm-2am every night of the year.

Tel 0808 800 1212 (freephone)

The Samaritans on 116 123 (freephone) is open 24 hours a day.

Dial House is an out-of-hours Leeds service for people in times of crisis where visitors can relax and have an hour of one-to-one support from the team of crisis support workers. Visitors who are attending for the first time, can just turn up from 6pm. If you have been before you will need to ring 0113 2609328 or text 07922 249452 from 6pm on the night you want to request a visit (it's best to ring before 7.30pm if possible).

Open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday - 6pm-2am.

12 Chapel Street, Halton, Leeds, LS15 7RW

Well-Bean Hope in a Crisis Café is open to people in Leeds who are experiencing a crisis. The cafe can offer emotional one-to-one support for up to one hour, support in a safe social space as well as practical help. You can self-refer to this service - visitors should ring or text first on 07760 173476 each time they would like to go to the cafe.

Open on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Bank Holiday evenings 6pm-12am.

Lincoln Green Community Centre, 29 Cromwell Mount, LS9 7JB

Open on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings 6pm-12am.

Touchstone House, 2-4 Middleton Crescent, Beeston, LS11 6JU

Open on Thursday and Friday evenings from 6pm to 12am.

New Wortley Community Centre, 40 Tong Road, Leeds LS12 1LZ

What support is available in Leeds for new parents?

There's a lot of support available in Leeds for new parents. Read our guide to the different kinds of support available in Leeds including services which you can refer yourself to.

You can read real life stories about parenthood and mental health from mums and dads in Leeds at https://nestleeds.co.uk

NEST is here to promote the wellbeing or new parents and parents-to-be in Leeds.

The site is run by NEST ambassadors, Anna and Lisa, two mums with lived experiences of maternal ill health – who are passionate about sharing their stories to help others.

You can also follow NEST on Instagram and Facebook - search for NESTLeeds

I am worried about my partner - what should I do?

Pregnancy and having a new baby is generally seen as a time of great happiness and excitement. In reality, it is very common for women to feel low or anxious and experience problems with their emotional health during this time.

If you're worried about your partner, try to talk to her about your concerns. Your partner's midwife, health visitor or GP can work with you both to decide which service is best placed to provide support.

Many women feel guilty or embarrassed about sharing how they're really feeling and end up not seeking the support they need. They can also be worried that their baby might be taken away from them.

If a new mum needs support for an issue like postnatal depression or any other mental health problem, it does not mean that their baby will be taken into care, in fact, health professionals will do everything they can to support them to get better. They can also help new mums to bond with their baby, if that is something they are struggling with.

If your partner has had previous contact with mental health services in Leeds - do they have a crisis plan with contact details? If you are unable to find the plan, you can call Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust's (LYPFT) Single Point of Access (SPA) on 0300 300 1485. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can text 07983 323867. The SPA Team provides an access point for referrals by health care professionals to specialist mental health services in Leeds. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If they've not had any previous contact with mental health services in Leeds and cannot wait for an urgent GP appointment: call NHS 111 (freephone, open 24 hours a day) - a highly trained adviser, supported by healthcare professionals, will ask you a series of questions and immediately direct you to the best service to support your needs.

You can also find a range of telephone support and places you can go in an emotional crisis here.

If you feel that you, your partner or someone else is in immediate danger, you should call 999 immediately.

What is postpartum psychosis?

Postpartum psychosis is a very serious and rare mental health condition which affects around one in every 1000 women who give birth. It can also be called puerperal psychosis or postnatal psychosis.

Women experiencing this condition have hallucinations (hearing voices or seeing things that aren't real) and/or delusional thoughts (thoughts that are unlikely to be true).

They may also experience:

  • Mania - appearing in a high mood, talking too much and thinking too quickly.
  • Feeling very low or depressed.
  • Mood swings between feeling high and low.
  • Loss of inhibitions.
  • Feeling paranoid, scared or suspicious of other people.
  • Feeling restless, tearful, withdrawn or irritable.
  • Problems sleeping and lack of energy.
  • Confusion.

Often women experiencing this condition do not realise themselves that they are unwell, so it is important for a partner, friend or family member to get help urgently if they suspect something is wrong.

Some women who experience postpartum psychosis can get worse and be in danger of hurting themselves or their baby.

In that case you should see your GP urgently (the same day) or attend your local A&E department.

If your partner has had previous contact with mental health services in Leeds - do they have a crisis plan with contact details? If you are unable to find the plan, you can call Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust's (LYPFT) Single Point of Access (SPA) on 0300 300 1485. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can text 07983 323867. The SPA Team provides an access point for referrals by health care professionals to specialist mental health services in Leeds. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you feel that you, your partner or someone else is in immediate danger, you should call 999 immediately.

Find support

Leeds Dads is a voluntary organisation that brings dads in Leeds together. Leeds Dads hosts playgroups for dads and kids, organises social events and provides information and expert parenting support.

Tools and apps

Download the free Baby Buddy app - health professionals in Leeds use a range of tools including a free app called Baby Buddy which was created to be used by all families in the UK. The app acts as your personal baby 'bubby' which can guide you through your partner's pregnancy and the first six months of your baby's life. The app was developed by a charity called Best Beginnings with the help of mums, partners, midwives and GPs. The app contains films featuring families from Leeds who talk about their emotional health. The app is available free from Google Play or from the App Store. You can read the app's privacy policy and terms of use here. There is also a web version of Baby Buddy.

Learn more

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has produced a series of eight helpful leaflets for pregnant women and new parents on a range of topics including perinatal OCD and postpartum psychosis.

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust self-help leaflet - postnatal depression

Royal Society of Psychiatrists leaflet - postpartum psychosis

No thanks I'm pregnant - Leeds pregnancy and alcohol campaign

NHS Choices - postnatal depression

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has produced a series of eight helpful leaflets for pregnant women and new parents on a range of topics including perinatal OCD and postpartum psychosis.

From Dads to Dads - is a website especially for dads, featuring real life experiences, useful facts and information laid out simply by experts in the field.

MindMate - I'm a parent or carer

The Pandas Foundation is an organisation which helps individuals and their families with pre- and post-natal depression advice and support. They also offer support to families in the antenatal period. The Pandas Foundation helpline is open 9am to 8pm on 0843 2898401.

Tommy's is the UK's largest charity which funds research into the causes of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. It also provides an information service for parents-to-be to help them have a healthy pregnancy and baby - Call Tommy's Pregnancy Line on 0800 0147 800.

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