Wed, May 10, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Young single mothers at higher risk of depression

CNA , TAIPEI

Young, single mothers from economically disadvantaged households are among those at highest risk of killing their own children before taking their own lives, according to a recent poll conducted by a team at the Taiwan Associa-tion Against Depression for the Social and Economic Burden of Depression initiative.

The initiative was launched in 2002 by Norman Sartorius, the former director of the WHO's mental health program, to engage medical, economic and political figures around Asia in an effort to address the consequences of depression in the region.

Taiwanese mothers in all age groups are beleaguered with different problems and difficulties, Lai Teh-jen (賴德仁), the initiative's team head, said at a news conference yesterday.

The team found that mothers in their 20s were mostly burdened by financial problems, those in their 30s and 40s were usually worried about their children's educational problems, while those above 50 were mostly concerned about their health.

Single mothers appear to carry a heavier emotional load since they have to face multiple challenges, including finances, their children's education and personal health, Lee said.

At the news conference, Lee Ming-been (李明濱), the director of the Suicide Prevention Center, highlighted the tragedy of seeing mothers killing their own children before taking their own lives because they couldn't bear the thought of leaving their young ones alone.

The past 14 years have lay witness to 198 such incidents, with 101 cases of mothers dying together with their children and 22 cases involving the deaths of entire families, Lee said.

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