Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Pregnant and Parenting Adolescents
Adolescent parenthood is associated with a range of adverse outcomes for young mothers, including mental health problems such as depression, substance abuse, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Teen mothers are also more likely to be impoverished and reside in communities and families that are socially and economically disadvantaged. These circumstances can adversely affect maternal mental health, parenting, and behavior outcomes for their children. In this report, we provide an overview of the mental health challenges associated with teen parenthood, barriers that often prevent teen mothers from seeking mental health services, and interventions for this vulnerable population that can be integrated into primary care services. Pediatricians in the primary care setting are in a unique position to address the mental health needs of adolescent parents because teens often turn to them first for assistance with emotional and behavioral concerns. Consequently, pediatricians can play a pivotal role in facilitating and encouraging teen parents’ engagement in mental health treatment.
- AAP —
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- Accepted August 29, 2013.
- Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics