The Amplifying Maternal Voices (AMV) Project

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.

The AMV Toolkit

Drawing on insights from MMHA Lived Experience Champions, member organisations, and local contacts, the Toolkit offers creative ideas and practical tools to empower individuals in shaping perinatal mental health care at the local level. The Toolkit explores innovative examples of ongoing efforts to bring about this much-needed change.

Explore the AMV Toolkit

More about the project

AMV project announcement

The AMV project aims to improve mothers’ and families’ access to support for their mental health, and is a collaboration between the Mental Health Foundation and the MMHA.

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Reflections at the halfway point

At the halfway point, we wanted to reflect on the story so far of the development of the AMV engagement toolkit, which the MMHA is leading.

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About the AMV conference

In early March 2023, our Amplifying Maternal Voices project held the first National Perinatal Mental Health Conference led by the Foundation since 2018, with the theme of ‘Breaking Barriers’.

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Contact us

If you would like to find out more about the Engagement Toolkit, please email Sian at