This is one of the many conclusions of a new report by The Urban Institute, Infants of Depressed Mothers Living in Poverty: Opportunities to Identify and Serve.

Key findings include:

  • 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 development—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.

Read the abstract.

Read the full report.


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