A father-son doctor duo at BC Children’s Hospital hosts the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads who may suffer from postpartum depression.
One in 10 men experience anxiety or depression after the birth or adoption of a child, according BC Children’s.
Dr. Jake Locke and his son, Dr. Brad Locke, have been running the Mindful Dads workshop at the hospital for the past three and a half years.
“Whenever the topic of perinatal depression comes up, men are rarely mentioned,” Jake Locke said in a release. “Of course, the right resources need to be in place for mothers, but fathers should be considered in these conversations as well.”
Ben Sullivan said he was experiencing anxiety and depressing well before the birth of his children, but the symptoms were elevated after his second child was born.
“Definitely a lot more responsibility and a lot more to manage,” Sullivan told Black Press Media in an interview.
He said other dads at the workshop appeared to be skeptical at first about some of the exercises meant to ease anxiety and depression. But, like him, they eventually found them to be effective, and it was helpful to know others were going through a similar experience.
The mindfulness exercises in particular were a “really good entry point to keep doing it afterwards.”
The workshop has been a pilot project since it began, but thanks to a recent grant, it will grow with more structure in April and coordinate with the mothers’ program.
“By the end of these workshops, these fathers are usually less reactive, and more engaged with their children and their partners,” Locke said.
He hopes that by treating both parents with mindfulness intervention, they can engage with the family in a more powerful way.