Almost half of parents bringing up children on their own are thought to be suffering from a mental disorder, a study from the Social Development Ministry suggests.
The study found that, overall, 43% of single parents had mental disorders compared to 19% of parents who have partners.
It found both single mothers and fathers were equally likely to suffer from poor mental health, and suggests anxiety is the most common problem.
Low income and under-employment were the biggest causes of anxiety and suicidal tendencies among parents bringing up children on their own.
However, the report also suggests existing mental health problems can cause relationship breakdowns and difficulties in obtaining and keeping work.
The data was collected in 2003 and 2004.