Single Mom Mental Health: Everything You Need to Know
When you’re a single mom, it can feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. Whether you’re solo by circumstance, choice, divorce, or the death of a partner, being a single mom is fraught with challenges for the 8 million single mothers across the United States. Unfortunately, this can be a recipe for disaster for single mom mental health.
Not only do you have to worry about providing for your children, but you also have to deal with all of the emotional stress that comes with being a sole caregiver. And if that’s not enough, you often don’t have anyone to turn to for help and support. But there is hope, and learning the truth about single mom mental health is the first step.
Feeling Trapped As a Single Parent
Let’s start with some words of affirmation. As a single mom, you are powerful, resilient, and strong. But in a country where living wages are growing harder to come by and social support is inadequate, even your most amazing internal qualities may not be enough to prevent a mental health crisis.
Now, let’s get real — it’s no secret that being a single mother makes you depressed and angry at some point in your journey. Between balancing full-time work, taking care of the house, and trying to raise happy and healthy children, it’s no wonder if you’re feeling overwhelmed. And when you’re constantly running on empty, it can lead to severe mental health issues.
When the Covid-19 pandemic swept the globe, it spelled out potential disaster for single moms everywhere. Fear swept through the hearts and homes of millions, leaving single moms to ponder an ever-growing list of “what ifs” that might disrupt their already fragile means of day-to-day survival.
What if I get too sick to care for my kids? What if my kids get sick? What if my ex gets my kids sick? What if I lose my job? What if we lose our home? What if I can’t afford groceries?
Single moms have always experienced these fears, but the pandemic revealed just how flawed the system for supporting them has been all along.
One of the most difficult things about being a single mom is doing everything on your own. It can be a lot to handle, from financial stress to emotional turmoil. And if you’re also dealing with co-parenting issues or an abusive relationship, it can be even more complicated.
Single Parent Mental Health Statistics
It likely comes as no surprise that single mothers report higher rates of symptoms related to depression and anxiety compared with partnered mothers, according to the Journal of Affective Disorders. In addition, young homeless mothers are most at risk for mental health challenges, as they tend to have fewer life skills, are more at risk for addiction and domestic abuse, and have more complicated needs in general.
Further research confirms an increased risk for anxiety and depression among single mothers, with 30% of single moms exhibiting symptoms compared to just 14% of partnered mothers. Single moms are also more likely to have postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety, which can be detrimental to both mother and child if left untreated.
There are also social factors to consider regarding single mom mental health. For example, financial instability, lack of a social support system, and experiencing childhood trauma put single moms even more at risk of experiencing challenges with depression and anxiety.
The research is clear — there’s an undeniable link between single mothers, poverty, and depression that needs to be addressed more directly by our society.
Common Single Mom Mental Health Challenges
So what are some of the specific mental health issues that single mothers face? Here are a few of the most common:
Single moms often feel isolated and alone, especially if they don’t have a robust support system. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, triggering depression and anxiety.
Single moms worry about literally everything, from providing for their children to dealing with co-parenting issues. This can lead to what I call single mom stress syndrome, a form of chronic stress and anxiety that comes from the often impossible task of single motherhood that leaves you feeling mentally and physically drained. Check out more about the symptoms of anxiety here.
Single moms often feel overwhelmed and hopeless, leading to short or long-term depression. Depression is a severe mental health condition that can harm every aspect of your life. Check out more about the symptoms of depression here.
Lack of Self-Care
Single moms often put their children’s needs before their own, leading to a lack of time for self-care. Neglecting self-care can hurt your mental and physical health in the long run.
Solutions for Single Mom Mental Health
There are many resources available to help single moms reclaim their mental well-being.
Single Mom Support Groups
Many single mothers’ support groups are available, both online and in-person. Single Mom Spot is a great place to find emotional support and brainstorm solutions to common single mom problems, so I’m glad you found us! Make sure to complete your profile so that you can get plugged into relevant conversations. You can complete a profile HERE.
Mental Health Professionals
If you’re struggling with mental health issues affecting your quality of life, seek help from a mental health professional. They can provide you with the tools and resources to manage your mental health, such as counseling and therapy.
Single Mothers’ Helplines
If you need someone to talk to, many Single Mothers’ helplines are available. This can be an excellent resource for single moms who are struggling with mental health issues.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, make an appointment to see your doctor. They can help you manage your symptoms and discuss treatment such as medication, psychiatric support, and lifestyle changes.
Schedule Time for Self-Care
Make sure to schedule time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes each day. Mom guilt often prevents us from making ourselves a priority, but the reality is that you’re setting yourself up for failure if you don’t. Taking time to relax and recharge will help you feel better equipped to handle the challenges of single motherhood.
Database of Mental Health Supports for Single Moms
For a more detailed list of resources by state, check out Single Mom Spot’s database of mental health supports for single moms. If you or your firm provides mental health support and would like to be added to our database, please contact us for more information.
It’s time to make single mother mental health a priority. By learning about the prevalence of mental health struggles that single parents experience, you’re taking the first step towards regaining control of your happiness.
If you’re struggling to keep your head above water, it’s essential to reach out for help. Single mom depression and anxiety is a real problem that needs to be addressed. Many organizations and support groups are available to single moms, so you don’t have to go through this alone.
Don’t suffer in silence – reach out for the help you deserve. Single motherhood is hard enough – you shouldn’t have to do it alone. It’s time to build our own village, and that’s what Single Mom Spot is here to help you do.
What are some of the everyday struggles you face as a single mom? Let us know in the comments below. If you found this article helpful, please share it with other single moms who might need some support. AND, if you haven’t already, please join Single Mom Spot today to become a part of our collective to inspire, encourage and equip each other to live our best lives right now.
5 Ways Single Moms Can Recover from a Big Financial Mistake
Does this financial mistake sound familiar? Christmas is approaching, and you want to give your kiddos the best darn Christmas you can. So you head to the mall. You swipe your credit card 27 different