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New Study Signals Need for Attention to Mental Health Care in Mothers of Children with MS

January 17, 2020

Pediatric MS researchers in Canada found that anxiety/mood disorders were increased in a study of 156 mothers of children with MS, compared with 624 mothers of children without the disease, both before and after the MS diagnosis. The MS mothers were also more likely to use mental health care services before and after diagnosis. The study signals a need for all MS providers, and particularly pediatric MS health care providers, to be alert to the mental health concerns of mothers of children with MS.
  • Physical conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, also were increased in the MS group before and after diagnosis. This mirrors findings in mothers of children with other health issues.
  • The authors suggest that increased utilization of mental health care before diagnosis may stem from stress brought on by the child experiencing early symptoms before diagnosis, but they don't have a proven explanation. 
  • The National MS Society provides a guide to help parents of children with MS.  Connecting with other parents can also help to navigate this uncertain time and feel empowered. Local support groups are listed on our website. Online groups include: MS Connection, Pediatric MS Alliance Facebook group for parents, and Oscar the MS Monkey Facebook Group.
Increased mental health care use by mothers of children with multiple sclerosis,” by Ruth Ann Marrie, MD, PhD (University of Manitoba) and others in the Canadian Pediatric Demyelinating Disease Network,  was published January 09, 2020 in Neurology.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. Currently there is no cure. Symptoms vary from person to person and may include disabling fatigue, mobility challenges, cognitive changes, and vision issues. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to minimize disability. Significant progress is being made to achieve a world free of MS.

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The National MS Society, founded in 1946, is the global leader of a growing movement dedicated to creating a world free of MS. The Society funds cutting-edge research for a cure, drives change through advocacy and provides programs and services to help people affected by MS live their best lives. Connect to learn more and get involved:, Facebook, X, formerly known as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or 1-800-344-4867.


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