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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Depression and Low-Income Women: Challenges to TANF and Welfare-to-Work Policies and Programs
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This report reviews the literature on the prevalence, treatment, and consequences of depression for low-income women and their children. It highlights the relation of depression to welfare, employment and job retention and describes findings on the relation of unemployment and poor quality jobs to depression. Depression is a debilitating illness, characterized by profound feelings of sadness, low mood, and loss of interest in usual activities, that can have severe adverse effects, not only on the individual but also on her job and family life.

The recent changes in welfare policy in the United States, including the five-year lifetime limit on assistance and the requirement that recipients obtain jobs after two years of continuous support, have generated concern about depression, and other problems, in women on welfare. The research findings reviewed have a range of implications for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and welfare-to-work policies and programs, which are outlined in this report. The research review also uncovers areas for new research focused specifically on low-income women and their mental health needs. (Authors)
New York, NY