Caregiver Depression, Mental Health Service Use, and Child Outcomes
This chapter analyzes the mental health care needs and service use for caregivers involved with the child welfare system, who experience symptoms of depression warranting a psychiatric diagnosis. Noteworthy findings include the high rate of caregiver depression, a 40% rate that greatly exceeds both the rate of depression in the general population and the rate for female welfare recipients; and the large gap between need for mental health care and reported use of such care for serious depression. An unusual feature of the chapter is the highly innovative use of NSCAW longitudinal data to group depressed caregivers into the categories early recovery, recovered and relapsed, and delayed recovery, in order that these caregivers' use of mental health services may be compared. It also reports a number of sobering consequences of caregivers' depressive illnesses for children and the role that mental health services may play in affecting those consequences. The chapter provides a model discussion of clinical and practice implications emerging from these empirical findings.
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