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.