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Study finds possible cause of mental health issues

Depressed young adults are one-and-a-half times more likely to have mothers who were depressed during pregnancy, a study shows.

Pregnant woman crying

Depressed while you’re pregnant? A new study finds that the condition could be more likely to pop up in your child by the time he or she is 18.

A Bristol University study said that higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol can affect the fetus’ development. Cortisol is typically raised during bouts of depression.

The study is significant because it sheds light on the fact that a person’s mental health may start developing before they are born. It also raises awareness about helping pregnant mothers through depression while they are pregnant.

“The message is clear: Helping women who are depressed in pregnancy will not only alleviate their suffering but also the suffering of the next generation,” said Carmine Pariante, a professor of biological psychiatry at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry.

During the study, research epidemiologist Rebecca Pearson assessed the mental health of more than 4,500 parents and their children to find the correlation. The researchers say that children who were born to depressed mothers were one-and-a-half times more likely, on average, to experience depression at 18 years old.

“The findings have important implications for the nature and timing of interventions aimed at preventing depression in the offspring of depressed mothers. In particular, the findings suggest that treating depression in pregnancy, irrespective of background, may be most effective,” the authors stated.

Researchers also found that mothers with low educational attainment who experienced postnatal depression posed a risk to their child developing depression in late adolescence.

In related news, it’s World Mental Health Day… time to bring awareness to mental health issues such as depression.

And if you’re creative, it’s the perfect excuse to enjoy some “me” time.

More mental health news

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Breaking the mental illness stigma

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