Wednesday, December 25, 2013

After the Diagnosis: Improving Maternal Mental Health

By Lee Wilkinson from

Parents worldwide often experience a range of emotions when their child is first diagnosed with autism, including shock, sadness and grief, anger, and loneliness. Mothers, in particular, appear to face unique challenges that potentially have an impact on their mental health and wellbeing. This includes high levels of psychological distress, depressive symptoms, and social isolation. Almost 40% of mothers report levels of clinically significant parenting stress and between 33% and 59% report significant depressive symptoms following a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The prevalence of psychological distress among mothers of children with ASD suggests a need for interventions that address parental mental health during the critical period after the child’s autism diagnosis and when parents are learning to navigate the complex system of autism services.

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