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Low Income Mothers – Depression and Poverty

by on September 4, 2010


Infants of Depressed Mothers Living in Poverty

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has recently raised concern for a study from the Urban Institute.

The study has revealed that more than one-half of babies in poverty are being released by mothers living with depression creating parenting and child development challenges. NAMI, the largest mental health organization, has reported that 70 percent of low-income mothers go without treatment and only 30 percent get help by speaking to a professional over the course of a year.

  • Eleven percent of infants living in poverty have a mother suffering from severe depression.
  • Evidence suggests that depression can interfere with parenting, potentially leading to poor child developmentā€”setbacks that are particularly devastating during infancy.
  • Compared with their peers with nondepressed mothers, infants living in poverty with severely depressed mothers are more likely to have mothers who also struggle with domestic violence and substance abuse, and who report being only in fair health.
  • Infants living in poverty with depressed mothers receive similar prenatal care as their peers whose mothers are not depressed, but they are breastfed for shorter periods of time.
  • Even though depression is treatable, many severely depressed mothers do not receive care.
  • Many depressed mothers living in poverty are already connected to services, such as WIC, health care services, food stamps, and TANF. Every contact is an opportunity to identify depression and help parents seek treatment.

Budget cuts in this ailing economy press even more strain in mental health services. The study reveals that most low-income mothers of infants are in their early twenties. They make up being 44 percent Caucasian, 30 percent African-American, and 21 percent Hispanic. NAMI encourages research, education, support and advocacy in improving the lives of those affected by mental illness. -full report is available here..

related blogs:

Lower Access to Care for Low-Income Mothers with Depression …

Impoverished Mothers’ Depression Hurts Their Children

Poverty is now linked to depression in mothers

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