Epilepsy, a condition that causes seizures is typically diagnosed at a young age.

“Epilepsy is very unpredictable so you don’t know when the child will have a seizure and how long it’s going to be”. Says Lawson Scientist Dr. Kathy Nixon Speechley.

The unpredictably not only can be stressful for the child but for the family, especially mothers according to a findings from a new joint study between Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University. 

“The Mother’s mental health has an impact on how well the children do, a direct impact”.

The research included 356 mothers of children with epilepsy who were part of a large project that looked at family outcomes over a ten year period”.

“So we found that just over half of the mothers were at risk for depression at some point during that ten year period”.

What was even more alarming was that the researchers found the depression persisted even if the child with epilepsy was improving.

“For 70% of these mothers their children had been seizure free for more than five years yet these mothers are reporting depressive symptoms over the follow up periods that are just about the same”. Says Klajdi Puka, a PhD Candidate at Western University. 

The research team is now expanding their work by piloting an intervention program for these mothers and their families.