Upcoming Webinar Making a Difference: Maternal Depression


Date and Time: March 27, 2018 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET/12:00 – 1:00 pm CT/11:00 am – 12:00 pm MT/10:00 – 11:00 am PT

Description:  Maternal depression encompasses a range of conditions that can affect women at any time, and occurs most often during pregnancy and in the first year postpartum.  Having a depressed mother can have a negative impact on young children’s behavior and social/emotional development. Home visitors and early childhood professionals are often best positioned to support very young children and their families. Infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH) consultants can help home visitors and early care and education (ECE) providers learn the skills needed to support children and families who are experiencing the effects of maternal depression.

This webinar will explore the role of IECMH consultants in building staff capacity to identify maternal depression and support mothers and their young children through screening, support, and linkages to evidence-based prevention and treatment services. After attending this webinar, participants will:

  • Understand how maternal depression affects infants and toddlers.
  • Understand how IECMH consultants can help ECE providers and home visitors identify maternal depression in the families they serve.
  • Identify strategies to address maternal depression in ECE and home visiting settings.

Who Should Attend? This webinar is for program directors in infant and early childhood mental health consultation, early care and education, Early Head Start and Head Start, and home visiting, as well as federal, state, tribal, and community maternal and child health agency workers.

Please forward this invitation to anyone who may be interested in attending.


  • Deborah Perry, Expert Mentor with the Center of Excellence for IECMHC, and Director of Research and Evaluation and a Research Professor at the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development
  • Cathy Ayoub, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, and Director of Research and Evaluation at Brazelton Touchpoint Center
  • Debra Sosin, Program Manager for Family Connections at Brazelton Touchpoint Center

Please register by March 26, 2018 to receive webinar login information.


Register Here


Moving Beyond Depression, An Effective Program to Treat Maternal Depression in Home Visiting: Opportunities for States


Depression is prevalent among new mothers, par- ticularly among low-income women. High rates of maternal depression (including prenatal and postpar- tum conditions) have been found among the popula- tions served by home visiting programs. For example studies suggest that half of low-income women in home visiting, Early Head Start, and other public programs report depressive symptoms. For women living in poverty and women of color, depression often goes untreated.

While depression is prevalent among mothers in home visiting programs, these programs alone are insufficient to bring about substantial improvement in depression for individuals and populations served. Furthermore, studies show that depression can lessen or constrain the potential positive effects of home visiting services.

This brief highlights the Moving Beyond DepressionTM program and its effective, new approach to treating maternal depression. Using In-Home Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (IH-CBT), Moving Beyond Depression offers treatment for depressed mothers, provided alongside a home visiting pro- gram. The approach seeks to: a) optimize engage- ment and impact through delivery of treatment in the home setting; b) focus on issues important to young, low-income mothers; and c) build a strong collaborative relationship between therapists and home visitors to enhance the effectiveness of both approaches.

Recent research on Moving Beyond Depression demonstrates the potential for using IH-CBT to augment what evidence-based home visiting models offer families and significantly improve outcomes. States have opportunities to add this evidence- based, maternal depression treatment program to their home visiting programs and systems. Using MIECHV, Medicaid, health reform and other policy options, states can add evidence-based treatment ca- pacity to reduce, not just screen for, maternal depres- sion among high risk new mothers.

Source: Every Child Succeeds

Available at: http://www.movingbeyonddepression.org/sites/all/themes/moving/pdf/mbdwhitepaper.pdf

Linking Depressed Mothers to Effective Services and Supports: A Policy and Systems Agenda to Enhance Children’s Development and Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect: Summary of the May 2013 Culminating Roundtable


Untreated maternal depression can have lasting consequences on children’s development and may harm their physical and mental health. While depression is one of the most treatable mental illnesses, far too few mothers, particularly low-income mothers, ever receive treatment or support. In Spring 2013, researchers at the Urban Institute convened a group of state and federal policymakers, researchers, policy experts, advocates, philanthropic funders, and practitioners to address this issue and identify promising opportunities for systems and policy change. What emerged were recommendations and practical next steps across and within systems for enhancing services to prevent, identify, and treat low-income mothers with depression.

Source: Urban Institute

Available at: http://www.urban.org/publications/412933.html

CLASP Responds to Senate Finance Committee on Mental Health Improvements


Mental illness affects many Americans and disproportionately affects low-income vulnerable families, who typically have less access to treatment even for serious problems.  Its effects can be two-generational, with untreated mental illness in a parent potentially affecting children, thus expanding even further the potential importance of effective treatment.  Depression, which is highly treatable, is a prime example of a parental mental illness that affects large numbers of families and poses risks to children’s safety and cognitive development when untreated.

Last month, CLASP submitted comments to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee in response to its letter soliciting recommendations on how to improve the mental health system. CLASP’s comments highlighted both barriers in the current mental health system and opportunities for improvement.

While low-income parents experience a relatively high risk of depression and other mental health problems, they unfortunately are less likely to get treatment than higher-income adults.  A number of barriers in today’s health financing and service systems help explain this disparity:

  • Eligibility gaps for low-income adults.  Many state Medicaid programs prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) only cover parents when their income is extremely low – a fraction of the poverty level.  Pregnant women are eligible up to somewhat higher income levels, but the result is that mothers may lose Medicaid eligibility shortly after their child is born, when they are no longer eligible under that higher threshold.
  • Fragmentation of mental and physical health services and fragmentation of services for children and their parents. Health care providers, particularly primary care providers like family doctors, may be in the best position to build trust on sensitive issues like mental health but are generally not well-connected to mental health providers. Additionally, care for adults and care for children are also fragmented and not designed with a two-generation approach.
  • Access. While Medicaid is a crucial provider of mental health services to low-income people, access to necessary services may be limited by complex billing and reimbursement issues (which vary by state) and by an insufficient supply of qualified and trained providers.  Another potential barrier is stigma related to mental illness, causing those affected to withhold information or only tell someone they trust.
  • Mutual lack of understanding between health/ Medicaid agencies and human services and youth-serving agencies (such as those administering child welfare) that serve vulnerable families and individuals. While public agencies could collaborate to overcome some of these other barriers, program complexity and the pressure of deadlines often get in the way.

Today, there are important opportunities to address these barriers, help low-income parents get treatment, and strengthen children’s development as a result.  Among the key opportunities arising from the passage of the Affordable Care Act and other related innovations in health care are the following:

  • Simplified Enrollment provisions in the ACA, which build on lessons learned from national and state initiatives to streamline and simplify enrollment into Medicaid and CHIP.
  • Opportunities for integrated care that will address fragmentation of services and utilize a two-generation approach.
  • Workforce Initiatives to increase the number of skilled, qualified providers.
  • Home visiting services that provide the opportunity to identify and engage isolated or hard-to-reach families who have mental health concerns, particularly maternal depression.
  • Federal technical assistance, guidance, and support for Medicaid – mental health – child welfare partnerships.  These partnerships could overcome the barriers of fragmentation and lack of common understanding across the system.

Source: CLASP

Available at:   http://www.clasp.org/admin/site/publications/files/Mental-Health-Comments-from-CLASP-Executive-Director.pdf

A Troubling Combination: Depression, Poverty, and Parenting | Child Trends


There is a troubling trend that researchers have identified again and again – low-income parents, especially single mothers, have higher rates of depression and depressive symptoms than their higher-income counterparts. A new Child Trends’ study found that more than half of a group of low-income mothers in Maryland felt down, depressed, or hopeless in the past year and almost a third had those feelings combined with a lack of interest or pleasure in doing things.

That’s a stark contrast to some national estimates showing that less than 7 percent of all adults have experienced a major depressive episode and that only 5 percent of single parents with incomes at or above the federal poverty level report symptoms of depression. While a recent report from the Urban Institute found that, regardless of income, 14.5 percent of all mothers with young children experienced depression, it also reported that mothers with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level were more likely to experience severe depression, while higher income mothers reported mild or moderate symptoms.

Source: Child Trends

Available at: http://www.childtrends.org/a-troubling-combination-depression-poverty-and-parenting/#more-10939

Not Just the Baby Blues: Screening Can Help Address Postpartum Depression | Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ)


If you know someone who’s expecting a baby this summer, you have plenty of company. More babies are born in July, August, and September than in any other months of the year, according to 2010 Federal data [PDF File, Plugin Software Help].

A new baby brings joy and excitement. But for some women, it can also bring on the start of serious depression. Known as postpartum depression, this condition often starts shortly after a woman gives birth, but it can also begin up to a year later.

Signs of postpartum depression are similar to the symptoms of major depression. They include—

  • Feeling sad or depressed most of the time.
  • Having no interest in doing things a person used to enjoy.
  • Losing or gaining a lot of weight in a short time.
  • Being unable to sleep or sleeping too much.
  • Feeling guilty or worthless.
  • Thinking about death or suicide.

Major depression in women who have given birth in the previous year affects between 1 and 6 percent of the population. In the first 3 months after giving birth, the incidence is higher than 6 percent.

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ)

Available at: http://www.ahrq.gov/news/columns/navigating-the-health-care-system/061113.html

Disadvantaged Families and Child Outcomes: The Importance of Emotional Support for Mothers


Rearing children can be difficult for any parent, but parents who experience social and economic disadvantages may face additional challenges.  Child Trends’ latest research brief, Disadvantaged Families and Child Outcomes: The Importance of Emotional Support for Mothers, examines the link between emotional support mothers receive in rearing their children, and their children’s development.

Child Trends found that emotional support for mothers improves outcomes for children, even when controlling for family structure, income, gender, race/ethnicity, and child’s age.  Children whose mothers reported receiving emotional support during childrearing were more likely to be engaged in school and exhibit social competence than children whose mothers did not receive emotional support.  The same pattern held true for internalizing behaviors; children were less likely to display internalizing behaviors if their mothers had received emotional support.  Findings from this brief suggest that providing emotional support for mothers may serve to protect children in both disadvantaged and advantaged families from negative outcomes.

Source: Child Trends

Available at: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs008/1101701160827/archive/1109583200621.html

Untreated prenatal maternal depression and the potential risks to offspring: a review


Research exploring the effects of prenatal maternal depression on a developing fetus and child is underrepresented in the literature. Empirical papers have typically focused on the effects of postpartum depression (after birth) instead of prepartum depression (before birth). Disparate empirical findings have produced ongoing debate regarding the effects of prenatal depression on a developing fetus and later in infancy and early childhood. Even more controversial is determining the role of antidepressant medication on offspring outcomes and whether research that does not include the proper control population (e.g., unmedicated depressed participants) can adequately address questions about risks and benefits of treatment during pregnancy. The current review systematically summarizes the literature focusing on unmedicated prenatal depression and offspring outcome and concludes that prepartum depression is highly prevalent, is associated with negative outcomes in offspring, and remains understudied.

Source: Archives of Women’s Mental Health, Volume 15, Number 1 – SpringerLink.

Available at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/h62gq3p373535187/