Emotional Support and Mental Health

In a new study (American Journal of Public Health, July 2007) reported by Reuters, mothers of young children who feel they lack emotional support or sufficient childcare help are over three times more likely to report mental health problems compared to women who feel supported”

They note: “More than one third of the 1,747 mothers participating in the study reported at least one parenting stressor that boosted their risk of mental health problems, Dr. Ritesh Mistry of the University of California, Los Angeles and colleagues note in the American Journal of Public Health. “If parenting stressors such as those examined here are to be addressed, changes may be required in community support systems, and improvements in relevant social policies may be needed,” they conclude.
Mothers of small children are known to face a substantial risk of mental health problems and their mental health has a “strong influence” on their child’s health and development, the researchers note.”

This may be a “duh” for many of us in this field but it certainly bears repeating. It emphasizes the need for ongoing attention to the support system surrounding new mothers. It is more important than many moms may think.

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