In most societies’, mothers are the centre of the circle of life. One of the best ways to practice prevention of mental health problems is to improve mothers’ mental health.
Anxiety and depression are more common in women compared to men but women live longer than men.
During pregnancy and after child delivery, about 13% of women may have a mood disorder. This not only affects the mother but also the newborn and other children. Depression affects the interpersonal connections between the mother and the children.
Women with two or more preteen children are also at risk of developing depression. Mothers’ mental health has been linked with difficult behaviours in children.
BUT the news is not all bad.
Mood and anxiety problems in mothers can be treated effectively. Potentially, this could improve the children’s mental health and behaviours.
Evidence-based psychological treatments like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) can help with the treatment of depression. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the treatment of first choice for the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Psychological treatments not only improve mood and anxiety but also support the mother in being more empowered to manage life and connect better with her children.
By addressing one problem, we address another.
About the Author:
Dr Sanjay Rao is an experienced teacher and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Ottawa. In 2018, he was awarded a Fellowship of the Canadian Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for his contribution to CBT in Canada. He has received an award from the Department of Health, UK for CBT development. He is the Director of Unified CBT Academy and the Medical Director at the Center for Mental & Psychological Health.