Black Maternal Mental Health Week
This week is Black Maternal Mental Health Week. While we still have a long way to go, our country has come so far in identifying, acknowledging, and treating perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). However, we continue to fail Black mothers and other mothers of color at a disproportionate rate. Studies show that BIPOC mothers, as well as mothers who have low-income, are several times more likely to suffer from postpartum depression and also less likely to receive treatment. This fight for maternal mental health improvements must be intersectional and focus on improving the safety and experiences of Black birthing people and parents. ⠀
This is not just about the healthcare system, though. The stakes are high for Black mothers, as many fear their babies will be taken away from them if they are honest about their PMAD symptoms. And their fears are valid: NPR shared in a recent article, "News reports in several states and studies at the national level have found that child welfare workers deem black mothers unfit at a higher rate than they do white mothers, even when controlling for factors like education and poverty."⠀
As Kay Matthews, founder of Shades of Blue Project said, "Addressing Black maternal mental health issues is mandatory, not optional." We are failing Black mothers. We are failing Black families. We are failing our communities. We have to talk about these issues, take action, and keep at it to improve maternal mental health for all. ⠀
So what can you do to help? Follow the lead of expert Black voices in this field: @shadesofblueproject @blackmamasmatter @birthingadvocacy @natalstories and @blessing.adesiyan to name a few. Please leave other suggestions of organizations to follow and support in the comments! We look forward to learning more about how we can contribute to this work as an ally and co-conspirator.