Self-Reported Mental Health Problems Among Adults Born Preterm: A Meta-analysis

Riikka Pyhälä, Elina Wolford, Hannu Kautiainen, Sture Andersson, Peter Bartmann, Nicole Baumann, Ann-Mari Brubakk, Kari Anne I. Evensen, Petteri Hovi, Eero Kajantie, Marius Lahti, Ryan J. Van Lieshout, Saroj Saigal, Louis A. Schmidt, Marit S. Indredavik, Dieter Wolke and Katri Räikkönen

Pediatrics April 2017, 139 (4) e20162690; DOI:


Being sad and having low mood occasionally is part of every adults life. However, adults with depression appear persistently sad and moody. Adults with depression often complain of being bored and appear to have low energy. They feel worthless, useless or guilty.

Adults which show the following signs that last longer than 2 weeks may have depression:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Eats a lot more or a lot less than normal
  • Has a hard time paying attention
  • Showing self-injury and self-destructive behaviour
  • Report frequent health issues such as headaches or stomach aches.
  • No interest for daily activities or hobbies
  • No energy and always tired
  • Feelings of anger and frustration

Depression can be described as feelings of sadness, loss or anger that interfere with a person’s everyday activities. It is important to realise that feeling down at times is a normal part of life. Sad and upsetting events happen to everyone.  But if you are feeling down or hopeless on a regular basis you could be dealing with depression. It can affect how you eat and sleep, how you interact with others, your career and your health and concentration. It can affect your sex life and physical affection for your partner. It can also lead to other disorders such as alcohol and drug abuse. Depression can also impact how you parent your children and supporting the needs of those around you.

Symptoms of depression may include the following:

  • Loss of interest and enthusiasm for things
  • Constant feelings of sadness
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss or change of appetite
  • Sleep problems
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches or body aches


Dealing with depression starts with good self-care. The following are good activities to help you with this:

  • Exercise
  • Eat a healthy diet and avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Drink Chamomile tea
  • Get plenty of rest and sleep
  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Diffusing aromatherapy oils in room
  • Practice deep breathing
  • Listen to Music
  • Plant a garden
  • Write in a journal
  • Spend more time with pets

Finding help is the best thing you can do.  Whether its talking to a professional psychologist or counsellor.  Some people with depression may be referred by their doctor to a psychiatrist where they have both medical and therapy training and may find medication works for them as well.

By seeking help, you’ll find that parenting or relationships can become easier over time and your family will benefit from a healthier more positive environment.

Building resilient families is important so that families can deal with the stresses of life and the challenges they face and be able to move forward even stronger. Recognising that there is support outside the immediate family in extended family and members of the community in difficult times and also family members working together is the key to building resilient families.

Useful links:

“With Depression, one of the most important things you could realise is that you’re not alone…you’re not the first to go through it; you’re not going to be the last to go through it”
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

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Disclaimer: This publication by Miracle Babies Foundation is intended solely for general education and assistance and it is it is not medical advice or a healthcare recommendation. It should not be used for the purpose of medical diagnosis or treatment for any individual condition. This publication has been developed by our Parent Advisory Team (all who are parents of premature and sick babies) and has been reviewed and approved by a Clinical Advisory Team. This publication is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Miracle Babies Foundation recommends that professional medical advice and services be sought out from a qualified healthcare provider familiar with your personal circumstances.To the extent permitted by law, Miracle Babies Foundation excludes and disclaims any liability of any kind (directly or indirectly arising) to any reader of this publication who acts or does not act in reliance wholly or partly on the content of this general publication. If you would like to provide any feedback on the information please email [email protected].