Low-Income Moms Struggle to Access Maternal Depression Treatment
Depression impacts over 16 million adults in the United States each year, making it one of the most common forms of mental illness. Half of U.S. babies who live in poverty have a mother experiencing some level of depression.
Untreated maternal depression, particularly in mothers of young children, is a major public health problem. It prevents parents from supporting their children’s growth, endangers children’s safety and cognitive and emotional development, and impedes families from escaping poverty. Research shows that effective depression treatments address these challenges. However, low-income mothers of young children have very high rates of untreated depression, because they lack insurance coverage for mental health care or experience other barriers.
The following resources outline maternal depression prevalence, its interaction with child development, and state policy efforts that address barriers to treatment.
- Seizing New Policy Opportunities to Help Low-Income Mothers with Depression: Current Landscape, Innovations, and Next Steps. This brief offers practical, timely ideas for federal and state action. Federal and state decision makers—together with philanthropists and advocates in the early childhood, anti-poverty, health, and mental health fields—should seize this moment of opportunity for young children and their families.
- Webinar: Seizing New Policy Options to Help Low-Income Mothers with Depression. This webinar is a companion to CLASP's in-depth report. Expert panelists discuss next steps for federal and state stakeholders to advance access to mental health services for depressed mothers.
- Medicaid Changes Would Spell Trouble for Maternal Depression Screening, Treatment. This brief explains how radically restructuring Medicaid would prevent low-income mothers from accessing maternal depression treatment.
- Medicaid Expansion Promotes Children’s Development and Family Success by Treating Maternal Depression. This paper explains why access to Medicaid for poor adults is key for children’s healthy development. In particular, it expounds on the relationship between maternal development and child development. Further, it finds that expanding Medicaid coverage to low-income adults can help states increase screening and treatment and promote child and maternal health.
- CMS Guidance Highlights Policy Options for Screening and Treating Maternal Depression. This blog outlines a 2016 Informational Bulletin, released by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, regarding the key role Medicaid can play in supporting state policy to promote young children’s healthy development through maternal depression screening and treatment.
- Maternal Depression: Why It Matters to an Anti-Poverty Agenda for Parents and Children. This paper explores the intersection of poverty and maternal depression and offers policy recommendations for reforming service systems.