It’s Black Maternal Mental Health Week, Here’s How to Get Involved

Studies show that 1 in 7 white women and 1 in 4 Black women will suffer from a maternal mental health condition at some point in their life.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published July 18, 2022
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Image: Alison Winterroth/Stocksy

America’s maternal mental health crisis hits closer to home than you may think. Whether you are aware of it or not, odds are you know someone who has struggled with a maternal mental health condition like postpartum depression or anxiety.

Studies show that 1 in 7 white women and 1 in 4 Black women will suffer from a maternal mental health condition at some point in their life. Of these women, more than half never receive treatment, with Black women less likely to receive treatment than white women. These mental health disparities and lack of care lead to contribute to America’s rising Black maternal mortality rate.

While the solution for these issues is multi-faceted, Shades of Blue, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the maternal mental health of Black and brown women, believes that progress starts with education, awareness and action.

Enter the fourth annual Black Maternal Mental Health Week hosted by Shades of Blue and motherhood advocacy group MomsRising. July 19-25, participants from across the country can participate in a variety of activities designed to inspire real change.

Here’s How to Get Involved This Week

Educate Yourself. Take part in the Black Maternal Mental Health virtual or in-person summit. Featuring internationally acclaimed physicians, counselors and speakers. Attend classes like Let’s Talk: Addressing What’s Killing Black Women Giving Birth and Help Her Live: Addressing Maternal Mortality from a Mental Health Perspective.

Raise awareness. Participate in the virtual Inspire Awareness walk. Your $25 donation helps further Shades of Blue’s initiatives, and by sharing your reason for walking with others, you help spread the message of Black Maternal Mental Health Week.

Take action. Show your support for new legislation brought to Congress by reaching out to your senators and telling them that Black maternal mental health matters. The resolution (H.Res.1226) has been introduced to the house by Shades of Blue, MomsRising and Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester and would:

  1. Raise public awareness and understanding around maternal mental health conditions and their disproportionate impact on Black birthing people and families.
  2. Recognize the need for culturally congruent treatment for maternal mental health conditions.
  3. Push for further research on maternal mental health treatment models that reduce racial and ethnic health disparities.
  4. Encourage federal, state, and local governments and individuals across the country to support Black Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week.

However you choose to get involved this Black Maternal Mental Health Week, your effort is needed and will make a difference. Tina Sherman, senior campaign director for maternal justice at MomsRising, adds, “It is essential that we shine a light on the mental health challenges Black moms face and fight for change. Our country urgently needs programs and policies that will improve Black moms’ mental health and address these shameful disparities.”

Educate yourself further and find community and organizations dedicated to caring for Black mothers here.

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