Equity, diversity, and inclusion in perinatal mental health care
In the UK, we expect all women to receive the support they need to look after themselves physically during pregnancy and postnatally. Despite the fact that maternal mental illness is the most common complication of pregnancy and the postnatal period, mental health is often treated very differently and there is no where near the same level of investment.
Although anyone can experience maternal mental health problems, some women and birthing people are at greater risk of becoming unwell and less likely to receive the care they need. This is particularly so for Black and brown women, young mothers, and those experiencing mutiple disadvantage such as domestic abuse, poverty, insecure housing and addiction.
This can be due to lack of social support systems, prejudice, stigma and isolation. For some communities and groups, accessing quality care can be especially difficult, and there are additional barriers for women facing multiple disadvantages and systemic inequality. Trauma, deprivation and discrimination impacts heavily on the experiences of new and expectant parents.
The MMHA is committed to shining a light on the issues, circumstances and characteristics which can lead to disparity of outcomes and often have a profound impact on someone's risk of perinatal mental health problems and their experience of care.
We will listen to members, lived experience champions and those outside of the network whose voices are seldom heard and use our influence to shape policy and practice.
Together, we will strive for equity for all new and expectant parents.
Domestic abuse affects an estimated 1.3 million women each year, with many case beginning or escalating during pregnancy.
Postnatal depression is up to twice as prevalent in teenage mothers compared to those over 20 and teenage maternal suicide is rising.
Black and minority ethnic mothers consistently have poorer experiences of care and worse maternity outcomes.
We call for the mental health of all new and expectant mothers to be monitored, discussed and treated in the same way as their physical health during this crucial time. We also call for the same standard of perinatal mental health care to be available to every woman, regardless of personal characteristics, circumstances, or postcode. Our maps show that women, birthing people, babies, and families in large areas of the UK are still not receiving the support they need.Let's create change