No matter how old you are, spotting the signs of depression and anxiety in your father can be worrying. You’re probably used to your dad being a strong and supportive figure. Stepping into a role where your dad might need your help can be challenging for both of you.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available as you navigate supporting your dad through depression. Gateway Foundation is here to help you learn more about helping a depressed parent find healing.
Symptoms of Depression in a Father
While postpartum depression among new moms is a common topic, parenthood brings an understated risk factor for dads, too. According to recent studies, depression symptoms for fathers rise almost 70% from a new child’s birth until age five. Symptoms of depression and anxiety can also manifest later in life due to biological factors as well as external stress factors.
Each individual reacts to depression differently. Depression and anxiety tend to look different between mothers and fathers, partially due to cultural pressures that make it harder for some men to acknowledge and express their feelings. Some common symptoms of a depressed dad include acting frustrated or irritable, getting stressed easily and becoming tired quicker than normal.
You might also notice that your dad is less motivated and interested in spending time on their normal hobbies. Common symptoms also include wanting to be alone more, seeming sad or anxious often and struggling to perform everyday tasks.
My Dad is Depressed: How to Help a Depressed Parent
If you’ve started putting the warning signs together and think your father might be depressed, it’s natural to immediately jump to a solution. You’re probably wondering how to deal with a depressed parent and what things to say or avoid in order to help.
While your dad’s mental health is ultimately in his hands, a family intervention can be incredibly helpful. You can reassure your father that you’ll show up through every step of the journey. Try these strategies to help walk alongside your depressed father and demonstrate your support.
Acknowledge the Depression and Anxiety
Feelings of depression and anxiety can manifest over time and may not be obvious, even to the person affected. Sit down as a family and start an open conversation that acknowledges your dad’s depression and gives him room to share.
Voice Your Support
You may be used to your parent playing the supportive role — but acceptance goes both ways. No matter your age, your loyalty and love are bound to be incredibly important to your parent’s recovery. Vocalizing that you’re here to help can give your dad the confidence and support he needs to seek treatment.
Research Therapy Options
If your depressed parent is open to outside help, one of the best ways to show support is to spend time researching and finding professional therapy options. Offering your time and energy to research can take a big strain off their to-do list.
How to Talk to Your Kids About Depression
If you’re a dad dealing with depression and anxiety, it can be hard to know where to start the conversation. These strategies will help you bring the whole family together to help you navigate depression as a team.
Use age-appropriate language to help your kids understand why you’re acting differently, what you’re feeling and how they can help.
In order to take care of others, you first need to take care of yourself. While depression can feel all-consuming, try to focus on self-care by looking after your physical health, sleeping well, eating nutritious foods and taking plenty of breaks.
Don’t forget to practice emotional self-care by spending time with close friends and family members and finding healthy ways to express challenging emotions.
Lean on Your Support Systems
You don’t have to tackle depression and anxiety alone. Between a spouse, kids, relatives and friends, you likely have loved ones available for help when you need it. Your support system can also include professional help in the form of compassionate counseling.
While statistics show that men are less likely to seek treatment for depression, consider how an untreated disorder can impact your child. According to several studies, a father’s mental health can have a direct correlation with their child’s risk of depression, particularly among adolescents.
Reaching out for help isn’t only for you — it’s for the wellbeing of your whole family.
Reach Out to Gateway Foundation for a Professional Helping Hand
Depression and anxiety can be isolating conditions. Sometimes, the strongest thing you can do is to ask for help. From prescription medications to professional counseling, there are plenty of options available to begin the journey toward health.
Gateway Foundation leans on more than 50 years of experience bringing quality treatment to individuals and families across Illinois. Our caring and compassionate staff is here to treat addiction as well as underlying mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. If you or a loved one would like to learn more about receiving expert care, don’t hesitate to reach out today.