NHS England has announced that new fathers will be offered mental health screenings and treatment if their partners are suffering from illnesses such as postnatal depression, anxiety and psychosis.
Research shows that 20% of women will encounter mental health issues during the first year following the birth of a child, but 10% of men will also be affected.
The NHS has described the new plans as “radical” and has emphasised that its aim is to prevent men’s mental health problems from being overlooked.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England said: “At what should be one of the happiest moments of our lives, caring for a partner suffering mental ill health when a new baby arrives is a difficult and often lonely experience.
“NHS mental health services need to step up and support families at times of extreme stress and anxiety.”
The initiative comes not long after Theresa May announced £20bn of additional funding annually for the NHS by 2023.
Mental health support for women will also be expanding, with three new mother and baby units opening up this year and another unit to be unveiled in East Anglia next year.
The government has promised to invest in specialist perinatal teams across the country by April 2019.
For the first year following the birth of child, these teams will offer evidence-based psychiatric and psychological assessments for women with moderate to severe mental health problems.
Counselling has also been offered to women who are wishing to get pregnant but have suffered from mental ill health in the past.