The accumulated evidence is clear: Depression in new dads—whatever the name, whatever the mechanism—is a real problem. And we need to be more proactive about catching it. It's not necessarily an easy task. As the AAP recommendations demonstrate, doctors involved in pregnancy and childbirth are trained, for obvious reasons, to focus on the health of mother and child. In Britain, however, physicians are starting to consider the missing family member: the father. In a pilot program launched at a hospital in Essex, England, the nurses and midwives in the maternity ward screen new dads, as well as moms, for signs of mood problems, both during pregnancy and after childbirth. Experienced dads have also been trained to run a fathers-only telephone helpline. It's a simple intervention and a good place to start.
The AAP's paper could have provided the impetus for doctors and hospitals in the United States to start taking similar action. Instead, it continued the not-so-grand tradition of ignoring dads.