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National Alliance on Mental Illness
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NAMI Raises Concern for Impact of Mental Health Care Budget Cuts on Low-Income Mothers and Infants;
Urban Institute Study Released

August 30, 2010

Arlington, Va.--
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has raised added concern about a study released by The Urban Institute that shows more than one-half of babies in poverty are being raised by mothers living with depression -- creating parenting and child development challenges.

At least 70 percent of low-income mothers go with out treatment, according to the study, with only 30 percent even speaking to a mental health professional over the course of a year.

"During a time of national economic distress and severe budget cuts in mental health services, the Urban Institute study raises concern about the urgency of the needs of women and children," said NAMI Executive Director Michael J. Fitzpatrick.

According to the study, most low-income mothers of infants are in their early twenties and are 44 percent Caucasian, 30 percent African American and 21 percent Hispanic.

In the past, NAMI has reported that regardless of income:

  • One in eight women experiences depression in their lifetime; twice the rate as men, regardless of race or ethnic background.
  • Over 10 percent of pregnant women and approximately 15 percent of postpartum mothers experience depression. Once a postpartum mother experiences depression, there is a 70 percent chance of recurrence.
  • Middle-aged Hispanic women have the highest rate of symptoms
  • African American women experience greater severity and persistence of symptoms
  • Asian American women face the greatest degree of stigma as a cultural barrier in seeking help

NAMI fact sheets include:

About NAMI

NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI has over 1100 state and local affiliates that engage in research, education, support and advocacy.

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