A study in Central Viet Nam found the following factors associated with poor mental health in mothers of babies of 1 to 6 months:
- poverty, food insecurity, husband’s unemployment
- breastfeeding difficulties and infant diarrhoea
- poor family relationships, low social support, negative reaction of family members to child, fear of family members and intimate partner violence
In the sample of 431 mothers, family relationships were reported as being close – 88% felt very close to their mother, 90% very close to their husband and 56% very close to their mother-in-law. But 35% of women reported feeling afraid of their husbands at some point in the previous 12 months and 6.4% reported intimate partner violence in that period.
Significant depressive symptoms were found in 18% of the mothers.
The research was carried out by Linda Murray at the University of Tasmania, with a team of researchers.
The research further emphasises the need to engage with families around mental health, to facilitate a supportive and caring environment and to challenge abuse if it is present. Earlier this year we reported on a highly successful family inclusive project in Uganda tackling mental health.
Murray L, Dunne MP, Vo TV, Anh PNT, Khawaja NG, & Cao TN (2015), Postnatal depressive symptoms amongst women in Central Vietnam: a cross-sectional study investigating prevalence and associations with social, cultural and infant factors, BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth 15
Photo: United Nations Photo. Creative Commons.