Global maternal mental health

Although the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) focuses on improving maternal mental health support in the UK, we recognise that it is a global issue.

Maternal mental health problems are the most common serious complication of pregnancy and the postnatal period worldwide. Despite this, it continues to be an overlooked area for research and service investment.

Urgent global attention is required to bridge this gap and prevent avoidable suffering, especially in low-income countries where maternal mental health problems are twice as common than in high-income countries.

Maternal mental health must be prioritised now if we are to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents’ Health.

To establish meaningful change on a global scale, strategies focused on social determinants and early intervention for perinatal depression must be implemented into the agenda for maternal health. And for that to happen, the neglect of mental health in the field of global maternal health must end.

Perinatal depression: a neglected aspect of maternal health, The Lancet (2023)

Global maternal mental health care provision

Independent evaluation shows that the work of the MMHA has helped transform the provision of maternal mental health care in the UK. Excitingly, it is also helping to influence change internationally.

Feedback from colleagues overseas is that the MMHA – and its collaborative campaigning approach – has directly inspired the development and launch of the Global Alliance for Maternal Mental Health (GAMMH) and African Alliance for Maternal Mental Health (AAMMH).

Other national and pan-country Maternal Mental Health Alliances are also beginning to form using some of the initial lessons and approaches developed within the UK. Currently, this includes Alliances in or covering:

Discussions are currently underway amongst colleagues in Australia and India about forming Alliances there too.

*The Francophone Alliance

The Francophone Alliance has used some of the same methodology as the MMHA’s Everyone’s Business campaign. For example, producing a map of France showing where services do and do not exist, as well as translating economic research commissioned by the MMHA into French.

To date, €20million has subsequently been pledged for perinatal mental health services in France.

World Maternal Mental Health Day

The first Wednesday in May each year is World Maternal Mental Health Day, when international maternal mental health activists, academics, clinicians and people with lived experience come together to raise awareness of maternal mental health problems and the importance of specialist support and services for all.

The MMHA is proud to be part of the steering group committee and an active global partner.

When is World Maternal Mental Health Day 2024?

Wednesday 1 May 2024

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Five facts about world maternal mental health