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  • 1 September 2020 to 28 February 2021
  • Project No: 491
  • Funding round: FR19

Holly Smith (UCL)

Childbirth is a life changing event for parents. Many of the changes are often positive, but new parents can also experience low points. Parents are sensitive to changes in mental wellbeing, such as having depression or low mood, particularly during the first year after childbirth. Up to one in five women and as many as one in ten men will experience depression in this time.

Antidepressants are one of the most commonly used treatments for depression. Previous studies tell us that one in ten women will begin antidepressant treatment in the first year after childbirth; but we know much less about how many men begin taking them after having a child. We also know very little about how long parents typically take antidepressant treatment for. For example, do most have just one treatment lasting six months or less, or do they take antidepressants for several years. Our project aims to understand the use and duration of antidepressant treatment among fathers just after they have a child.

We want to understand:

  • how many men start antidepressant treatment in the first year after childbirth and how long this treatment lasts
  • for those taking antidepressants, if they had used antidepressant treatment before
  • if different groups of people, such as younger fathers or those who had taken antidepressants before, are more likely to take antidepressants for longer

Our findings could:

  • help understand how common antidepressant treatment is in fathers

help inform fathers experiencing depression about how long their treatment may last 


Patricia Schartau, Irene Petersen


Amount awarded: £17 657.00

Projects by themes

We have grouped projects under the five SPCR themes in this document

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.