HER Health Fridays – Motherhood and Depression
October is a month full of awareness, from breast cancer to bullying to domestic violence, which is appropriate since it is also Health Literacy Month. Health Literacy Month was established in 1999 to promote the spread of health information. Here at the Museum of Motherhood, we want to arm mothers and women with information about health matters that matter to HER. This student blog contribution is made possible by relationships with Columbia Teachers College, pioneered by Dr. Aurelie Athan’s Laboratory On Maternal Psychology. Today’s blog is written by Sally Minkovich.
October 7th marked the start of National Mental Illness Awareness week sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. According to the World Health Organization, depression and anxiety are the most prevalent forms of mental illness in mothers around the world (http://goo.gl/0qgSr). In fact, suicide is one of the leading causes of maternal death. A 2011 analysis looked into maternal depression across the USA and found that a little over 10% of the mothers were depressed (Ertel, Rich-Edwards, & Koenen 2011).
Depression was seen in mothers of all demographics but was most common among White and Native American women with low education or income. Based on these findings, one in ten children are born to a depressed mother in any given year. We have all heard the phrase “Depression Hurts” and seen the advertisements stressing the fact that depression affects those that surround you. Well, there is actually an abundance of research showing that children of depressed mothers have several developmental and behavioral challenges growing up. A recent study published this year found that 5-year-olds with mothers suffering from chronic or intermittent depression have more problem behaviors than their cohorts (Turney, 2012).
So if you are a mother and think you may be depressed, or you know someone who is, it is critical, both for you and your child to reach out, learn, and get support. If you think that you or someone you know may be depressed, visit www.HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org. Take the survey and find out how you can be happier and healthier today.
Turney, K. (2012). Pathways of disadvantage: Explaining the relationship between maternal depression and children’s
problem behaviors. Social Science Research, 41(6), 1546-1564. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2012.06.003
Ertel, K. A., Rich-Edwards, J. W., & Koenen, K. C. (2011). Maternal depression in the United States: Nationally representative rates and risks. Journal of Women’s Health, 20(11), 1610-1617. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2012.06.003
Mental Health Awareness more info