The Amplifying Maternal Voices (AMV) project spotlights mothers' maternal mental health experiences from seldom-heard communities.
Around 1 in 5 women experience a perinatal mental health problem during pregnancy or within the early postnatal years. While women of any age, race, relationship status, or socioeconomic background can be affected, these characteristics can disproportionately impact a woman’s risk of becoming unwell.
For example, research has shown single parents to be at a higher risk of developing mental health problems (Griffin, 2010) and single mothers have roughly three times the prevalence of depressive episodes compared with other groups (Tragosz et al., 2003).
Although an under-researched area, data suggests that postnatal depression and anxiety are 13% higher in Black and brown mothers than in white mothers (Watson et al., 2019). The Black Maternity Experiences Report (Five X More, 2022) revealed that, overall, midwives were likely to discuss physical health status, safeguarding and social risk factors with Black mothers. However, there was a lack of information, advice and support given around mental health, rights, choices and social support.
According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, in 2021 a record 93,494 women were referred to perinatal mental health services in England alone, with the highest referral rates for younger women.
All women, babies, and families have a right to high-quality, comprehensive perinatal mental health care. The human and economic consequences of failing to provide this support are significant, meaning it is vital that such disparities in maternal experiences and outcomes are addressed.
At the beginning of our toolkit journey, research helped us map out our approach and select Birmingham and Croydon as pilot areas. We also looked at how we can use the amazing expertise within our membership, Lived Experience Champion Network and existing community, in addition to working with local groups, to shape the toolkit...Read about the story so far
For more information or to get involved in the project, please visit the Mental Health Foundation website.
If you would like to find out more about the Engagement Toolkit, please email Sian at email@example.com.