Risk Factors

Maternal mental health is connected to a wide range of issues faced by women, including

  • Domestic violence – violence contributes to poor mental health, and poor mental health makes it more difficult for women to negotiate their relationships
  • HIV/AIDS – HIV puts people at greater risk of mental health difficulties, while poor mental health makes it less likely that those who are HIV postitive to adhere to treatment
  • Refugee issues – women who are refugees are more likely to suffer mental health difficulties due to their past experiences and to a current lack of support
  • Substance abuse – poor mental health makes women more likely to use substances such as alcohol in an attempt to feel better, and these substances in turn lead to worse mental health
  • Teen pregnancy – teenagers with poor mental health are more likely to engage in risky behavior and become pregnant, while pregnancy brings increased pressures which then affect mental health

Source: Anisha Gururaj and Ashley Pople

Other risk factors include

  • Lack of Support
  • Unwanted pregnancy
  • Poverty/ food insecurity

Impact/ consequences

  • Child outcomes – women with poor mental health find it more difficult to care for their babies, and to make sure their children have vaccinations and other treatments
  • Poor maternal health – poor mental health and poor physical health are inter-related, and both vital to a mother’s resilience

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