Why are Single Dads’ Mental Health Plummeting Compared to Single Moms?
As a single dad, you are faced with your challenges which could include:
- Discipline - you want to be everything for everyone and it's HARD
- Work-life balance - how do you find balance and look after children by yourself?
- Taking care of yourself the same way you care for your family
- Not getting the same support, assistance, and financial grants as single moms
Why could you be having a more challenging time than, for example, single moms?
You’re not alone - that we can assure you.
Single Dads vs Single Moms
Fatherhood is changing, and single dads are more visible but less often spoken about are the physical and mental health issues that these dads are facing.
Single dads are twice as likely to report poor physical and mental health as fathers with partners. Being a single dad is just as stressful and causes the same amount of strain as single mothers, but often, single fathers don’t have the same level of support.
What makes single dads vulnerable?
Being a single parent has an economic impact that puts pressure on them from a career perspective. This comes with an additional complexity as men worry about being stigmatized as being less committed to their career and fearful of being passed over if they need flexitime to take care of their children.
Asking for help is often perceived as weakness rather than vulnerability (a big difference), so single dads are less likely to reach out – social support is key to mental health.
Single moms are traditionally the primary caregiver/nurturer of the family, and some dads may find it challenging to comfort their children, deal with grief, etc. Also, society makes gender-based assumptions which often leads to guilt, self-criticism, and self-doubt in the minds of single dads.
In the census mentioned above, they found that one in five single dads had two or more chronic medical conditions, and one in 10 had a diagnosed mood or anxiety disorder.
Suggestions for single dads
As a single dad you may be struggling; here are some suggestions that might help you:
- Join dad-specific websites, Facebook groups, podcasts, etc. some of these include:
- Check in with other single dads
- Offer your help and accept theirs
I think the key, especially in our isolated time of living during COVID-19, is that we’re not alone, and there are things we can do to help ourselves and our families.